In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, “You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working.”
In the pursuit of anything, whether it be a physique, craft, skill, career or business, we must always remain focused on the work.
Ultimately, that’s all we have control over. We can’t create in anticipation of the reception, or hope of a (successful) tangible result.
In focusing on the tangibles, we can miss the magic of intangibles: the bits you can’t track, measure or see. It’s in these intangibles that we often find the most pleasure (and all we truly want). Yet, it’s in the tangibles we find ourselves as a society focusing on. It creates pressure, fear and anxiety in us as we worry if things will work out, if it will make any money, or if there even will be a result.
Modern society loves this, as it keeps us rushing and searching for meaning at new shiny objects. Ironically, the meaning can always be drawn internally. It’s why we must validate internally vs externally. There’s too many external forces out there to rely on them favouring you. Sometimes, you may put in years and years of work for no tangible result at all. That’s okay, because in the work you may have found joy and pleasure. And that’s something most tangibles fail to give.
If we only focus on the work everyday, and showing up, we can be satisfied in knowing we’ve done our part. Let the rest take care of itself.
(I read the Bhagavad Gita in the middle of 2020 for the first time - an excellent read for people of all cultures and backgrounds. It gives a universal message that is important than ever, given the world we live in. This is the version I have)