The Aruna programme is basically about touching minds with students across the world and making a change in the world. The basic concept, Arise and Awake, is comparable to the Art of War by Sun Tzu. Indian culture tells of the Arthashastra, a treaty written by a gentleman known as Chanakya. The Arthashastra encompassed the meaning of everything. The Arthashastra contains many pearls of wisdom and I will quote from The Arthashastra from time to time.
It’s the first stage or the first phrase of Arise and Awake which says, “Arise and Awake, and stop not until you reach your goal, and stop not until you attain your goal”. This is the first stage and this is what happens now, at university. That is what you are here to touch base with, to discover the secret to that because that does not come with a university certificate, or diploma and degree.
Once you have arisen to the potential of who you can be, once you have awoken to the world as it really is, only then you will start to plan to chart your lives differently. It’s a place where you’re going to have to either stand up and be heard or you’re just going to be in the 99 percentile. But it takes only one person to make a difference. It takes only one mind to chart the world. It takes one person to feel different; we are led by one person today. And he, from his position, has the power to chart the course of the whole country. It takes only one person, every single time, to change the course of humanity, to change the course of history. And that’s the one percentile of this planet.
Einstein was arguably one of the most brilliant minds in the world, that history has ever seen, probably next to Steven Hawking. They say that only one percent of his brain was used, though some arguments stretch this to 5 per cent used for the work that he produced. His impact was felt all the way across the world from physics, atomic physics all the way to the structure of our understanding of the universe, and this man only used 5 per cent of his brain. Now ask yourself this, why do you have it? The Lord or nature, in its planning, has given you such a powerful tool. Something that you carry with you every day, that goes wherever you go. And through this tool, you experience life, you experience nature. Through this tool you are actually able to translate the universe and live within it. Through this tool, Einstein used 5 per cent to achieve where he went. It has a purpose, and you have a purpose and it’s time that you found out what it is. You can either choose to go on automatic mode or you can choose to find out what it is. From here the world can be changed. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world” so if you want to change the world, what do you change?”
If you want to change the world it begins here. This (mind) decides whether you can or cannot do something. If the vision is big enough, the dream is big enough, the facts don’t count. When people tell you it cannot be done and you choose to listen, that’s your limitation, not theirs because you have chosen to accept their limitation. But if you say to yourself, “Yes, it can be done! It must be done!”, then usually it gets done. Such is the power of the mind. The mind is so powerful; you can literally do anything that needs to be done if you can get it under your control first.
Part of Arise and Awake is about preparation. Life is not going to give you roses all the time. And the more you are prepared to take whatever it takes to take it to the top, the easier it becomes. You’re going to have to be prepared to fall first. And if it happens, it happens. You recover, you stand up and you keep going.
The thing that I wanted to talk about today is whether passion is my vocation or is my vocation going to be my passion? Vocation means what you’re going to do. When you bring your passion with you, it doesn’t matter what job you do, if you take the people today, the ones that you really admire, they all started life with a different vocation. But if you take passion as your vocation, wherever you go, whatever you do, however you do it, you will keep on bringing the same passion over and over again. And whatever job you’re doing, you will make it different. You will change it to suit who you are, and that’s what you bring into the job. The one unique thing that you have is you. You are different, and that is your strength, and you bring that difference into the job, and that is your passion. So your passion is to be you, the best you that you can be. Then the vocation fits your passion. It becomes the fuel.
When we talk about the one percentile of humanity, the one thing that differentiates them from you is this exact same thing, the passion that they bring to their job, to whatever they do. When you love what you do, you don’t have to work a single day. Because when you love what you do, is that work anymore? It transforms, time has no limitation. You become your work, your work becomes you and you become one with your work. You live for your work and then it’s a whole different experience, either it’s a chore or it’s not. So you have to bring that passion with you. You have to bring the energy with you and you have to change it.
You are at the most important stage of your life, right now. You are in a very enviable position; you can make all the changes that you want to make. Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world before he was 31. It can be done, it is within you, you need to find it, and you need to make it happen. Focus on what you need to achieve and go out there and achieve it. Every one of them kept on trying. Life is full of disappointments. It happens all the time, if it stops you, it’s not because of them, it’s because of what you choose to allow. If you choose to allow it to stop you, it will stop you. If you choose to allow it to block you it will block you but if you choose to get past it then you can get past it because for every problem that you have been given in life, you have also been given the solution at the same time. It’s just harder to find.
Look within, the solution is never without, it’s within. You must want to, badly. So if you say to yourself I’m not ambitious, I don’t have those burning desires, life will give it to you sooner or later. You need to be the difference that the world sees. You need to bring the passion wherever you go. Don’t ever feel so insulated that you think that the world escapes you.
The single most powerful thing that I always liked, the word that I always hear that inspires me to live life differently all the time is in Arabic and every time I hear it more so in the Middle East than here, it keeps reminding me of its powerful philosophy. The word is Insha’llah. In the Middle East, every time you say to somebody, “I will see you tomorrow” or “See you in one hour’s time”, the natural reply is “Insha’llah”. It’s built into their culture, into their thinking. The concept is what I’m talking about, it simply means by the grace of God, by the will of God. The human mind chooses to cocoon ourselves into this thinking that, no it doesn’t mean me, I’ll still be here.
Plan for a hundred years, not for one day. If you can plan for 5 years, 1 year, you’re better off than, you know, whatever you are right now but live as if today is your last day. Plan for the rest of your lifetime, plan for as long as you can plan, as you dare to dream. So you plan for 5 years, for 10 years, for the next generation but live as if today is your last day, that is the balance and that is the meaning of Insha’llah.
Your target must be constant: how to get the changes every day. You have to get up every day and read your plan. You get up in the morning you do a new plan. Life changes all the time. Every day when you get up, you work at your plan, that’s why you say, you plan your work and you work your plan. You plan your work first, but you will never achieve it because nothing in life in perfect. But some things cannot change; you still have to work according to that, but nothing is in your hands. Knowing that is a humbling factor, it teaches you humility. You work as hard as you can but the result is not yours. The effort is yours, a hundred per cent yours and you cannot give less than a hundred per cent.
Be as prepared as you can, be even more prepared than the best, the more prepared you are, the better you are. I had the good opportunity once to speak to Rudy Hartono who was badminton World Champion for eight years, the longest ever held by anyone and when I spoke to him I said, “How do you do what you do? Amazing, 8 years you’re at the top, everyone’s out to get you.” And every year, he made it look so effortless. And he said to me in “there is no such thing as practice”. So I said, what does that mean? That means you don’t practice? He says no, he says for him, when he’s practicing, to him that’s the All-England’s finals. When he’s there in the stadium practicing, training, for him, even that to him is not practice, it is the finals. Every point counts. He said two things to me, he said, “There is no such thing as practice” and he said “every point, you fight to death.” And that’s exactly how every champion plays. Your entire focus must be there and you play like a champion. When you play like a champion everyday, you end up at the championship games, it doesn’t make a difference.
The effort is yours; it’s in your hands and you have to give a hundred and ten. You give a hundred and then push a little bit more. You have to give a hundred and then push a little bit more because a hundred yesterday or a hundred and ten yesterday is your hundred today. So ask yourself this question, If you took the concept of Insha’llah very seriously, what would happen to your priority list? It will be very different. Just because you are at your stage of life gives you no special guarantees but if every day makes a difference, if every day you choose to live differently then everything changes. Your priorities have to change, you need to take every day and live it to the full.
Your belief system grows, but behave according to your belief, have the sincerity. The concept here is not about belief; don’t be following the word belief, that’s not the issue. The issue is to behave accordingly, which means be truthful onto yourself. Be true to yourself. If you say, this is what you will do then, do it. Then people would believe in you. They need to believe in you before they believe in what you believe in.
Efficacy, self efficacy, that means you plan well, you’re organized. Attitude is how you perceive a problem. Someone looks at half a glass of water. Someone sees it as half empty and someone sees it as half full. Depends on where they are looking and that perspective defines your attitude.
If you tell the truth, if you walk the truth, if you believe in the truth, you’ll never have to remember what you say. And the words can be entirely different but you will say the same thing every time and every place and that will mean that people will begin to respect you. This one is very important, hold your standards high and one of two thing will happen: the people who hang around you, who talk with you, who are around with you all the time, either they are going to match their standards with you or they are going to drop off and you need to be around people who continuously raise your standards, not bring it down. So you raise your standards and either they, the people around you will raise theirs in order to match you or they are going to leave you. Galileo Galilei is the person who basically discovered or was the first to announce that the world was actually round and they didn’t believe him. So, they persecuted him, in fact, they executed him. The Catholic Church at that time defined that the world was not round but did the world become square? Did it automatically change? It didn’t. Some lies can go on a long time. That lie lasted 500 years. But still, sooner or later, a lie is a lie is a lie.
It doesn’t matter how you want to pat a lie. Ultimately, the truth will always prevail. Ultimately, the truth will always never change. You see, the concept of truth is very interesting. Alright, number 1 is that you need to always test it yourself before you believe in it, you need to test it. Apart from the concept of faith, everything else is defined by truth. You need to believe, you need to test it and you need to believe in it and once you believe in it, you go after it all the way.
It’s always convenient to keep quiet, it’s convenient not to ask questions, but is that right for you? The person who asks most questions is the one who learns the most. Don’t choose the easy way out. Be, you know, sheep, goats, cows, monkeys, they follow, there’s a herd, that’s the herd mentality, that’s zoology. So as a herd, people follow this herd mentality, when one goes, they all go. The first horse goes, all the horses go. The first cow goes, all the cows go. So choose to be different. It’s not about lions or sheep, it can be tigers also. But the predator, the lion, lives differently in the jungle. In the law of the jungle, the lion or the tiger, the panther or the leopard lives by its own standards. It is in essence, they call it the king of the jungle because, it doesn’t follow; it leads. It’s not easy, in fact it’s easy to follow the crowd, but that’s always the longer road.
We have a little voice inside of us that guides us. We call it conscience. When you see something going wrong, you see some injustice happening, you can’t sit and watch and inside of you it says that this is wrong. We need to listen to it a little bit more. If we shut out the noise and clutter from our life, it means all of the disturbance. Usually we make the biggest mistakes in our lives when we are under pressure, when we are in a rush, when we are dashing to do something, it’s too busy to stop and slow down. When the moment is passed, you did step over, you did walk on, and you allowed the situation to take control, instead of slowing down, checking down the noise and listening to that voice.
A clean new slate, your lives are about to begin. This is what you have and what you do from now on, and this applies to everyone. But you have today, yesterday is gone, you have absolutely no control over yesterday. It is history; it’s out of your hands. Tomorrow is not yours. What you do today though will forge tomorrow, that is in your hands and your legacy is your single most important thing that you can leave behind. You were not born, right now, if you look at it, your legacy is written, sadly. Any newspaper, in this country or in any other country that you come from, has your obituary did you know that. If you died today, which is possible yes? What would it read; it’s already in there, on the computer. All they have to do, they have 7 or 8 variations and they can pick one, choose what they like and it will say, born 19 something ..died 20 something. They just have to fill in the blanks. Then they have the correct terms, beloved son or daughter, beloved husband or wife, beloved father or mother and what’s your legacy? Please turn up at the funeral at …. time. This is your legacy up till today. Do you have a chance to change it…to make it different? Yes, you have. Ultimately, that is the only real difference, your legacy. Everything else fades away. Make that difference count.
You will arise to the true potential that you have within you. You will see that you would awaken to life and reality, that every day will be different, that every day needs to be different. There are people out there who have done this, who continue to do this. They are rare and they are far in between but they do exist and they change the lives of thousands of people around. There are thousands of them, inventors, scientist, leaders. People ranging back all the way across the centuries to Alexander the Great to Napolean to Genghis Khan all the way to this century where you have John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa. Have they left a mark? Yes, because they chose to live their lives differently.
I have talked to you about Chanakya when we started; Chanakya has a very simple 4-point plan, to changing, to learning. The first thing he called Viveka, in Sanskrit it means exactly this, arise, awake. Arise and Awake that’s what it is, Viveka.
First you need to understand what is it that you need to change in your life. Then you need to set a goal in your life, you need to know what is it that you’d like to do. Even if it means that, just better than today, it’s a goal. You may not target to be the Nobel prize winner yet, that’s something that you could grow into but today you could target I am better tomorrow. Vichara is the second stage. Vichara means once you have awaken to who you are, you plan, you do research, you analyse where I want to go to, what I want to do. From Viveka you go into Vichara and once you have done the awakening and the planning, the third stage and the most important stage is called Neti. Neti in sanskrit simply means not this. So that does this mean? Not this…it simply means anything else but your goal. When you see it, you say, not this. Not that, not this, this is the part that I’m choosing so you don’t allow any distraction. There’s a state of mind you will arrive at once you have set your purpose and finally it is called Vairagya, the last stage. Vairagya is a state you reach; it is some what akin to charisma, it is some what akin to reaching a state where you have gone beyond. When you feel Vairagya, you feel it from the person who is talking to you, from the leader, from the person who leads you, his energy, his passion drives you.
Persistence, patience, perseverance, daring, determination, devotion, to come up in any field that you choose to do be. It doesn’t matter whether you want to be an engineer, scientist, a mathematician, to be the finest in your field requires the same elements, same though processes.
I’d like to read the message from Gandhi’s own words, If you want to give a message to the West, it must be a message of ‘Love’, it must be a message of ‘Truth’, I want to capture your hearts, that your hearts clap in unison with what I’m saying, and I think I shall have finished my work, therefore I want to go away, I want to go away with the thought that Asia has to conquer the West. Then, the question that a friend asked yesterday, "Did I believe in one world?" Of course, I believe in one world. Then we will take this message from here to the rest of the world. So from my heart to yours guys, let’s take a message to wherever you come from, that we can make a difference, we can make a change, and we will be the change and you can be there change if you believe in yourself.