Stress is a natural corollary of success, power, position and prestige of 21st century life. And that fact helps to explain why so many people who are dynamic, successful, and prosperous have no peace of mind and no satisfaction, while others who are not dynamic and successful are relatively contented.
How to deal with this dichotomy–to achieve a harmonious balance between one’s professional and personal life and, thereby, inner peace–was the focus of a presentation by Angajan Madathumkandy at the Million Dollar Round Table’s annual meeting in Indianapolis in June.
“With all this success and glory, we still find ourselves struggling with an inner thirst for fulfillment and a hunger for personal congruency,” said Madathumkandy, the founder of the Vedanta Center for Management and Leadership, Tongaat Durban, South Africa. These problems can only be treated by one’s own journey through the process of self-analysis, by gaining the mastery over one’s own self. These external problems have internal solutions.
Standard of life vs. standard of living
Madathumkandy said there are two aspects to life: “standard of life” and “standard of living.” The first entails cultivating the human mind, the spiritual growth of an individual, turning introvert, and gaining self-mastery. The second represents the pursuit of money and the acquiring of material possessions, such as the amenities ones enjoys.
Most people, said Madathumkandy, focus on improving their standard of living and ignore their standard of life. They pay attention to living at the cost of life–sacrificing life for living. They sacrifice physical and mental health for wealth, and at the end of their lives they sacrifice wealth to protect their health.
Unless you develop your standard of life, he said, you cannot enjoy your standard of living and life will be filled with sorrow. Material objects alone cannot bring about satisfaction. Just as the mast and keel of a ship must be proportionate to one another in order for the ship to maintain balance, so also in life external success and inner development must be proportionate.
“People who chase external success before they gain self-mastery indeed achieve considerable worldly success, but eventually, even if they are young, they get burnt out with no more vigor left to pursue life’s aspirations,” said Madathumkandy. “One of the problems today is the obsession with finding pleasure in the external world and a false belief that material objects are the source of that pleasure. However, the abode of happiness is within.”
Most valuable asset, the most wasted resource
An individual’s productivity and success lie not only in the knowledge and experience of the outer world but also in the ability to manage one’s own self, that is, self-mastery, said Madathumkandy. An academic education, knowledge, and skills alone will not make one perform effectively. One may have adequate education, knowledge, and skills to manage one’s business or profession. Yet this work output suffers due to a lack of self-mastery. Self-management is the foundation of any kind of effective external management.
Give life to living people
Lack of self-mastery, said Madathumkandy, leads to stress, which in turn reduces efficiency and impedes clear reasoning, thinking, and creativity. Individuals and organizations need to be educated on the science of holistic self-development, as this will “give life to living people” and “make the human asset creatively brilliant.”
Such self-development, he added, will allow people to be more precise in their decision-making and enable them to better manage mental pressure. It will empower them with work ethics and sound value systems. And it will allow them to have the right mental disposition, nobler ambitions, a powerful motivation, team spirit, management abilities and leadership skills that are already inherent in them.
A life based on self-mastery, he added, makes one physically dynamic and healthy, emotionally mature and stable, intellectually sharp and penetrating, socially conscious and friendly, and professionally creative and competent, he said. Spiritually, the individual can live on the level of pure consciousness.