Success in the Workplace

Paramhansa Yogananda

The main purpose of business should be service, not only money making. The store that gives the best service and the best products is the one people like. Remember that you must serve in order to make others happy.

The law of prosperity is not governed by the law of selfishness, but by the law of unselfishness. Each one of us must live for others. In supporting yourself, you must also support others.

Enter heart and soul into whatever you do, and never become stagnant in your environment. There are two kinds of environment you must watch carefully—your outer environment and your inner environment. By changing your outer environment you may find better success in your work, but don’t change unless you are certain that the new situation will be better for you than the place you already work.

Select your vocation in accordance with your inner interest, instinctive inclination, and intuitive meditative guidance. Do not try to seek success in a business that you hate.

It is all right to hold small jobs temporarily, but to die in such positions is a sin against your creative ability. You must let inexperienced newcomers hold small, insignificant jobs, while you, after gathering experience in such jobs, must attain superior positions.

Most people spend their lives desiring to do something perfectly, such as playing the piano or painting, but are too lazy and careless to put forth the effort required to reach perfection in the given activity. They excuse themselves by saying, “I had no time to practice or to find a good teacher, and anyway, I am not a genius.” Extraordinary talent is not as necessary as unswerving purpose and unfailing effort. Most people fail to attain their material, mental, and spiritual desires because of lack of definite purpose and sustained effort.

If you want to be an artist or a businessman, you must associate with the best artists and businessmen you can find. By association, I mean intelligent attention, and loving and interested communion. If you are interested in great people in order to learn their ways, they will be interested in you. If you cannot meet great people, you can at least read their books and learn from their successful business experiences.

In order to be a spiritual man, you must associate with a person of the highest spiritual realization, and you must meditate more and more deeply.

Remember that the greatest responsibility in business lies with you, and your awakened creative ability. All difficulties can be overcome only by your continued planning and persistence. Refuse to acknowledge defeat, and you will win. If you don’t succeed in the business you are in after trying for some time, then try something else, and keep on trying until you succeed in something.Try do well in the line of business with which you have experience.

Finding your vocation

You cannot remain stationary—you will either go forward or backward. The way best suited for your life combines your idealism and your practicality.

Suppose you have started on the path of a traveling salesman. You try your utmost, work hard, think and plan, but you do not succeed. Analyze yourself, and you may find that since childhood you have wanted a little vegetable garden and a quiet home where you could reflect, drink peace, and occasionally paint a picture of the landscape. Perhaps this childhood desire to be a farmer and an artist came percolating up from a prenatal existence, or was strongly suggested to you by someone. Your enthusiasm and ambition may have been prejudiced by the impulse of being a farmer. Then, why should you try to go against your already formed tendencies?

Most people form their innate heart’s desire from the age of three to twelve, but they aren’t aware of it. Watch yourself carefully and discover an undercurrent of some definite desire running under the current of your many desires. That underlying desire which has been with you always, coaxing you to listen to it, is the real archangel of success that you should follow.

If your vocation does not satisfy your heart, it is not the right path for you. If you want to reach the abode of lasting peace and happiness, you should pursue whatever path your heart’s desire tells you to follow. People are never happy traveling in the wrong direction.

You must also be practical and use your common sense in everything. The person who follows an artistic path, paved after his heart’s desire, may satisfy his aesthetic hunger, but may not be productive enough to meet his family’s physical hunger!

Remember that where there is a will there is a way. The way best suited for your life may be a compromise between your idealism and practical life. For example, do not give up your desire for gardening, even if you can only have a garden in your backyard and have to go to a city to make money. Have your home in the country, if possible, and spend your weekends finding peace in your garden work.

Play your part well

Besides discovering your innate ambition and learning how to build your moneymaking methods around it, you must do something every day that will satisfy the Cosmic Plan for which you were sent here. Most people are unhappy because they forget to harmonize their earthly, learned duties with the duties demanded by the Cosmic Plan. The Cosmic Plan demands that you satisfy your soul by including in your own happiness the happiness of the most needy ones.

Every day try to help uplift physically, mentally, or spiritually suffering people, as you would help yourself or your family. If, instead of living in the misery-making selfish way, you live according to the laws of God, then, no matter what small part you may be playing on the stage of life, you will know that you have been playing your part correctly, as directed by the Stage Manager of all our destinies. Your part, however small, is just as important as the biggest parts in contributing to the success of the Drama of Souls on the Stage of Life. Make a little money and be satisfied with it by living a simple life and expressing your ideals, rather than make lots of money and have worries without end.


How to overcome trial

Trials do not come to you to destroy you, but to help you better appreciate God. God does not send those trials. They are born of your own making. All you have to do is to resurrect your consciousness from the environment of ignorance. Environmental troubles are born because of your conscious or unconscious actions in the past, somewhere, sometime. You must accept the blame for them, without developing an inferiority complex.

You must say: “I know that Thou art coming! I shall see Thy silver lining. In this tumultuous sea of trials, Thou art the Polestar of my shipwrecked thoughts.” Why are you afraid? Remember, you are not a man or a woman. You are an Immortal Being.

Even as Jesus could manifest his love and when sorely tested, say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” so must you forgive your exacting trials and say, “My soul is resurrected. My power is greater than all my trials because I am the child of God.” Thus, your mental powers will expand, and your cup of realization will be big enough to hold the Ocean of Knowledge. Then you will be happy and prosperous.

My own experience

I loved philosophy and religion from my boyhood, and I made up my mind to establish my own schools and institutions and never hold a job under anybody. It would have been folly on my part to become a railroad man, as was planned for me. I started on my path with infinite confidence that I would succeed, and I did succeed. My success was due to strong determination, and confidence in the guidance of the Heavenly Father in everything I undertook. My effectiveness came through God and creative thinking principally, and very little through human training.


As I headed toward my goal, I tried to succeed in different lines of endeavor. When I saw that I succeeded in all the things I undertook, then I fully launched myself into the greatest undertaking of my life—the founding of spiritual organizations. I started my first work in a little mud hut with three or four others in Calcutta, and finally established a palatial school in India, and a heavenly home in America, with thousands of followers.

I share these things, not to indulge in self-praise, but in order to demonstrate that the above suggestions came from the heart of my own successful experience, and not from theories about success. I hope that if a weak and humble person like myself can accomplish something with which to serve his brethren, you, who are perhaps stronger than I was in the beginning, can surely do something for your success that will also include the success of others.

Workplace_4 ParamhansaParamhansa Yogananda: Born in India in 1893, Paramhansa Yogananda was trained from his early years to bring India’s ancient science of Self-realization to the West. In 1920 he moved to the United States to begin what was to develop into a worldwide work touching millions of lives. Americans were hungry for India’s spiritual teachings, and for the liberating techniques of yoga. In 1946 he published what has become a spiritual classic and one of the best-loved books of the 20th century, Autobiography of a Yogi. In addition, Yogananda established headquarters for a worldwide work, wrote a number of books and study courses, gave lectures to thousands in most major cities across the United States, wrote music and poetry, and trained disciples. Yogananda’s message to the West highlighted the unity of all religions, and the importance of love for God combined with scientific techniques of meditation.

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