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Choose and Commit to Excellence

Happiness Challenge / August 30, 2019

Grit. Dr Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that the secret of phenomenal success is not talent but a special combination of passion and persistence called GRIT.

Having grit means making the choice every moment to stick with your dream and work for it day in and day out no matter what the obstacles. When someone chooses strongly in this way, success is eventually attained. It involves sacrificing short term pleasure for long term happiness. 

A strong choice has the power to shake the world.

Mahatma Gandhi's commitment to truth and non violence inspired a freedom movement that set India on the course to independence from colonial rule.

Thomas Alva Edison persisted through repeated failures to invent the light bulb.

Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid leader in South Africa, suffered 27 years in prison, before he became the first ever president of South Africa elected democratically.

All good things, including God Realization, eventually come to those who remain committed to their vision in thought and deed.

In this video, Swamiji provides the example of Goswami Tulsidas, a famous Indian saint and author of the Ramcharitmanas, to show how a committed choice can transform us and the world at large.


Podcast - Make Right Choices in Life


Video Transcript - Make Right Choices in Life

Life always presents us with a variety of options from which we can choose. If we make the right choices, it leads to success, fulfillment, and happiness. The wrong choices lead to misery, failure, and gloom. Today on day nine of the happiness challenge as we progress in mastering the art of happiness, I would like to emphasize to you the importance of the choices that you are making consciously or unconsciously in your life.


A few hundred years ago in India, lived a saint called Goswami Tulsidas. He is famous today as the writer of the Hindi Ramayana. However, in his youth he was not saintly at all. In fact, he was quite a Casanova. He was so infatuated by his wife that one night, his wife had gone to live with her parents. When Tulsidas realized, he just couldn’t not stay without her. He started off to meet her.  Since it was a stormy night, there was no boat willing to take him across. He found a log that he held on to and swam across, and then found a rope hanging from the wall, which he grabbed and climbed up to jump through the window into his wife’s room. He thought, his wife would be pleased to meet him. But, she was aghast. She scolded him for doing such a nasty thing. She said, “In your infatuation for me, you did not realize, that was a dead body, which you mistook for a log. And that, was a snake that you assume to be a rope.” “The amount of love that you have for me, “she said, “if you had a fraction of it for the supreme Lord Shree Ram, you would have achieved God realization by now.” That scolding Tulsidas received from his wife was a wake up call for him. At that moment, he decided, no more. I will no longer allow my mind to remain in this degraded state. He decided to take action. He turned around, engaged in spiritual practice and devotion, and transformed himself to the great Goswami Tulsidas. That one choice, he made on that particular night, had such a big impact on his life.


Think about your own life. Where you were 15 years ago, and then you made choices, to either study engineering or medicine or accountancy or law, to get married or not to get married. And these choices brought you today, to the station in which you find yourself in life. Today as well you and I, have choices that we can make. Some of these choices, will be reversible, some will not be reversible.


The comedian Jerry Lewis, he shared that when he used to become frustrated with his marriage, he would take the movie of this marriage and play it in reverse. When he would see himself getting out of marriage, he would feel liberated. He realized, this was a choice he had made from which it was not easy to extract himself. Nevertheless, he chose to laugh at his situation. He could have chosen differently, to explain to his wife, to fight with her or to file for divorce. So, in the same way, the choices that we make have short-term or long-term consequences. Will today be the day, when you will decide to choose wisely and transform your life, like Tulsidas did. You may say, “Swami ji, is life transformation so easy, that it is the consequence of a single choice?” Absolutely not. Alongside with the choice is the intensity of the decision.


There is one decision a person makes, to give up smoking and then starts again at night. And there was one decision that Mahatma Gandhi made. When in South Africa, he was subjected to racial discrimination, and he decided no more. That committed choice of his, no compromise, enabled him to inspire a huge freedom struggle, that threw out the British empire from India without the help of violence. So, it is not only the choices we make, but also the commitment to these choices that enables us to make our life, either more degraded or holy, sublime, noble and happier.


I would like to suggest for you today as you go through your day and night, to ponder over the options you have. What could I think here? What could I do here? And to become more aware of the choices you are making, and to think of how to choose better. Tomorrow, I will share with you the secret formula for choosing more wisely. Thank you.


Thank you!