How to maximize work potential?

Do you easily feel tired at your work-place? If yes, what do you think causes this tiredness? Is it unsuitable working environment, or unfriendly colleagues, or excessive workload? It is generally believed that these are the basic reasons for our low work potential. But it is not true. Because if this were true, everybody with the same workload and working at the same place and with the same colleagues must feel tired; which is not the case. Then where does the problem lie?
The problem is our approach to work. This approach actually maximizes or minimizes our potential. What is this approach? First thing, ask yourself: “Do I love my work or is my work just a burden, just a job, just a means of earning?” And if your answer to the second part of the question is yes, then you will always work with low potential; because if you do not love something, you cannot put your heart into it, your soul into it, you will not be fully involved in the work. Obviously, your potential will be low. So the very first thing, you have to choose the work that you love. Otherwise, your potential will always remain low.
People say love what you do and do what you love. But you cannot love everything you do. Yes, you can do what you love. Doing what you love needs courage. I repeat, doing what you love needs courage. Because then you have to go against the grain, against the established patterns. And “love what you do” sounds easy. But do it, try this. You won’t be able to do it because love cannot be forced. It is spontaneous. Just imagine somebody wanted to become a cook but has become an architect. Now can he love what he does? Can he love architecture? Can he take his mind off cooking? No. So you have to choose what you love.
The reason why we have so many lazy people, work shirkers around us is not that they don’t have potential; they are simply in wrong places. And what is a wrong place? Any place as such is not wrong. Any place in itself is not wrong. But if a cook is in a clinic working as a doctor, that clinic becomes a wrong place for him. Recipes, dishes, they are his cup of tea. Likewise a doctor at heart will be in a wrong place in a kitchen. Therefore, no place in itself is wrong or right. The question is whether you are in the right place or not. And unless you are in the right place, your potential will never flower, will never be activated because you cannot pour your potential into something.
You might feel you have led yourself astray. The good news is it is never too late to mend. I know several students, when they took admission to a particular department, after a month or so they realized that they were in the wrong place. Some of them wanted to do B.A. in English – they loved literature – but they got into other subjects. The very first year I advised to them, “Just one year’s loss is not much. But if you pursued a wrong subject, if you kept walking in a wrong direction, you would meet nothing but misery.” But they thought one year was too important. They had paid money and as a result year after year their misery intensified, because their heart was there in literature. Beware of the mind! Do not lose a pound to save a penny. If you have made a wrong choice, undo it, and redo your life. Then only your approach to your work will be healthy, and then only can you maximize your work potential.
Secondly, Zen mantra: One work at a time. Down the centuries, the enlightened have taught us: “Be in the present.” Now, how can this spiritual practice be applied to work-place? Take an example: Some of my colleagues who have six classes a day start worrying about their workload a day in advance. Then they go to bed tired, worried. They sleep worried, they wake up worried, because their worries haunt them in their dreams also, and do not let them sleep. So they go to the college worried, tired. When they enter the first class, nine o’clock class, they are already tired. What has tired them? They think the workload has tired them. It is not so because the first class has just begun. They are teaching the first class, still worrying, “Five more to go, too much burden!” And they keep counting down, “Four more to go, three more to go, two more to go.” This actually minimises their potential because they remain worried. In fact, they are not actually teaching there in their class; every now and then a thought comes to them, it haunts them: “Five more classes! Four more classes!” This dramatically reduces your energy. It is such a loss of energy. People don’t understand that worry is not going to settle anything. They are still going to take six classes, so why not one class, one work at a time?
Follow this mantra. Suppose, you have two presentations on a particular day, then a meeting with a client. Take one thing at a time. When a presentation is going on, just remain involved totally there. The moment you are totally involved in a work, your potential is activated. Secondly, the moment that work is done, it is finished. Its memory does not even trouble you. It is done and dusted. Then you can enter into the next work easily and fully. But if you remain obsessed with second work, second presentation, obviously this obsession with second presentation is going to unsettle you, is going to affect your first presentation. And then what happens? When the second presentation begins, the first presentation starts troubling you, pinching you. Because all those mistakes you have made in the first presentation, they come and haunt you. You just can’t shake them off, you just can’t block them out. They surround you on all sides, and they spoil the second presentation as much. So in order to maximize your potential, you must think about only one work at a time.
Just these two very simple things – choosing what you love and doing one work at a time – are going to immensely energise you. Yes you may ask, “What about work skills, techniques, knowledge?” Well, remember one thing, once you choose what is close to your heart, you don’t have to worry about skills. You will automatically learn those skills. Because you are curious about your work, you will definitely explore things. You will meet people, interact with them. You will discover new avenues of working those things better. It happens very naturally. You never have to bother about any skill development programme. Skill development programmes are only for unskilled people; a lover of work is never unskilled. Love is the greatest skill. It is the greatest talent and once you know this talent, you have everything with you.

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