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What You’re Entitled To

Here’s a concept I like to keep in mind when my online business isn’t progressing as fast as I’d like, or when I’m struggling to make money online.

In the Bhagavad Gita (chapter 2, verse 47), Krishna says to Arjuna:

You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action.

An alternate translation:

You have a right to your labor, but not to the fruits of your labor.

Arjuna and Krishna
Above: a depiction of Arjuna and Krishna.

The message is that you are entitled only to the doing of the work, and not any rewards that may come from it. You have to let go of the outcome, because ultimately the outcome isn’t up to you.

Who knows how your work will be received by the world?

  • Maybe lots of people will love it 😍
  • Maybe not 😩

Either way, you can’t control how other people respond.

You might be able to influence them.

But not control.

Not entirely.

The only thing you have complete control over is the doing of the work.

That includes:

Whatever it is your work consists of, that’s all you can do.

That’s all you are entitled to.

Everything else is a gift.

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6 Comments

  1. Interesting philosophy. I think if you want the millionaire mindset though, you need to compromise on that a little?

    I had a reminder of that mindset this week when I read a piece on Trump, who recently said, “I never lost”. As antipathetic and unfit for a US President job as I find that guy, I’m impressed by the way he sees his own world where he was entitled to making billions, despite a series of bankruptcies.

  2. Hey Niall,

    Another great one because the rewards are optional. If you don’t do the work then the rewards will not come unless you have sheer luck and hit the lottery.

    If you do the work then the rewards have a better chance of happening. However you can do everything right with regards to the work and still lose, meaning the rewards may not occur.

    Of course, the more work you put in, the better your chance of the desired reward happening. More work means more chance of the reward.

  3. Interesting post and topic! I prefer this message along with, “You reap what you sow.” Together, the two quotes would in effect say: if you work hard and are diligent success will come, but do not worry about how others respond to what you’ve built.

  4. This brought to mind the Buddhist practice of constructing and destroying mandalas. Except that the destruction could be seen as a negation of the Bhagavad-Gita’s quote above! They say they destroy them to show the impermanence of existence. But maybe they’re just giving a Bhagavad-Gita a poke in the eye – “We damned well will bear the fruit of our labour, by destroying it!”

    Here’s a clip from “The Wheels of Time” by the great Werner Herzog:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10084L3Pqsc

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