Q: I believe that human desire to be successful is unlimited. And I understand why sometimes people around you expect so much from you, especially your mentors, your friends or your family. I understand why they expect the best from you and they want you to be happy. But sometimes because of this expectation I feel that I am being chased by life. I want to hear your opinion about how I can better manage my stress and control my mind better.
P: So when you said that your family has high expectations of you that’s their issue. You can’t interfere with their expectations of you because it’s their issue. At the same time you can’t fulfill all their expectations. The same goes for yourself. You can’t get everything you want.
Say everybody gets what they want. All the students want to go to a good university but they don’t want to study. If everybody gets into good colleges without studying, how is that going to work? If everybody wants to date and marry a good looking person, how difficult is the situation going to be? If everybody who wants to become a president becomes the president how difficult would that be? If everybody wants to live 500 years, a thousand years, how difficult would life be?
It can’t be done. If it could be done, it would destroy the world. And because it can’t be done, we have more or less some kind of a balance in life.The environmental issues we are facing now are the results of humans acting on greed and desire too much. So getting everything you want in life isn’t necessarily a good thing.
If other’s expectations or your own expectations are causing you stress and suffering that’s happening because of your greed.
If you want to to achieve something you can either keep trying or quit. Feeling stressed out over things you want to achieve but failing to do so is because of greed. Stress comes from having a high expectation but not wanting to put in a requisite effort. So it’s very easy to distinguish between impure and pure desires. If you suffer because your desire wasn’t fulfilled then that is the result of your greed. However, if you are able to say, “Oh that didn’t work, how about if I try it this way? Hmm, that didn’t work either. Let’s try this way.” If you keep such an investigative mind, failure doesn’t cost you suffering, because you are driven by genuinely wanting to achieve that goal.
So there should be no relationship between you suffering emotionally and you not achieving something you want. If other’s expectations or your own expectations are causing you stress and suffering that’s happening because of your greed. And greed leads to despair and disappointment. That is why we teach to let go of your greed.