I Think smoking is Bad and I should Quit smoking. Should I?

There’s an interesting story, I want to share today

Two smokers went to a sage. When their turn came, they had the following conversation with the sage (the Enlightened One).

First man: O the enlightened one, I smoke a lot. Although, I’m quite ok with it, people say it’s a bad habit. What should I do? Should I quit smoking?

Sage: You can carry on.

Second Man: O the enlightened one, I smoke a lot. I Think smoking is Bad and I should Quit smoking. Should I?

Sage: Yes you should quit smoking.

The two men tell each other of their conversation with the sage. And were amused why one was advised to carry on smoking, while the other advised to quit it. Thoroughly puzzled, they together went to the sage, and asked the reason for the dichotomy ( in Hindi, “vivadpoorna Dwi Paksheey sujhav”).

To this the Sage said: The First man was not internally convinced or guided to quit smoking. If a person doesn’t think something is wrong, then why should I tell him that it’s wrong. On the other hand the second person was convinced internally (at heart) that smoking is bad and that he should quit smoking. In short, the second man was internally sorted (in Hindi “bheetar se sulajh jana”) on the question of smoking. I simply gave words to his internal belief.

Why I shared this story with you?

Actually, the kind of advice we seek and the kind we get, is simply what we feel from inside. As the sage said — The adviser simply gives words to our internal belief.

For instance, if you are preparing for some competitive exam, then you would have noticed, how you and your fellow friends chat long hours discussing how your chosen career path is better than others. How the post you’re preparing for is simply aspirational, going by the status, power and respect the person on that post commands and blah. blah, blah …The intensity of such chats heightens if the group is preparing for Civil Services or any other Government Administrative exams.

To be frank, to some onlooker, such a chat is simply an exercise undertaken by the participants to convince themselves that what they are preparing for is the right career and they are not wasting their valuable time on some aspirational career.

But unfortunately, such an exercise wastes a lot of valuable time. A time which could be used in preparing for the exam.

What should be done then?

As the sage says: Get internally sorted. That’s think internally why you want to do , what you are aspiring to do.

For instance, before going for some career think about it Non-passionately.  Acquire detailed knowledge about it — career prospects, aptitude requirements, right method of preparation, your interest level, your studying habits, your money goals in life, your family goals etc.

Only when you are able to see all these things in a practical light, you will be internally sorted (means ‘No Confusion in your brain’).  And this will lead to internal motivation.

Internal motivation is absolutely necessary in achieving goals in life, as it keeps you on track at the time of hardships of the journey. Only an internally motivated person can keep walking, irrespective of the hardships.

So if you are preparing for some competitive exam, do take some time to think deeply about the career path. Acquire detailed knowledge about it. Answer all the How and Why questions in your head. And if you still feel the desire to go for the competitive exam, go for it. Now that you are sorted internally, you will not waste much time convincing others of the soundness of the decision. The time saved will go to the competitive exam preparation.