Question: How to cope up with envy in this competitive world? I am working for a software company which is always full of competition and peer pressures. Even if I try to ignore the peer pressure, at times this attitude itself is leading me to inefficiency in work or stagnation. How to develop the right attitude at work place without yielding to envy and at the same time improving the efficiency? I need some practical tips that I can follow on a day to day basis.
Romapada Swami answers: The best way to respond to envy from others is to NOT react or respond to it. This is possible if one is working for a higher purpose, altogether different from the pulls and pushes that are driving those around you. As we discussed in answer to the previous question, if you have a clear focus of the spiritual purpose of life and are conducting your occupational work in line with that purpose, then your motivation in working is simply to please Krishna by your efforts. From that follows the effort to be regulated, focused and responsible, to not waste time in idle distractions etc because you are fixed on pleasing Krishna through the dutiful execution of your prescribed work. Rather than focusing too much on your own abilities and inabilities, when you actively keep Krishna in the center, depending on Him for strength and striving your best, then there is no room for either slackness or for the tendency to prove oneself, outdo others etc.
The desire for recognition, distinction, competition and working very hard to achieve these are all born of the mode of passion, while stagnation, procrastination, inertia are products of the mode of ignorance. In an effort to escape the ill-effects of passion, we must not yield to ignorance, and likewise we cannot overcome ignorance through incentives in the mode of passion. The recommended solution is to strive towards the mode of goodness, which means acting on the platform of duty – “I must do this, simply as a matter of duty”. This will take care of the two extremes of passion and ignorance.
You might want to study the sections from Bhagavad-gita describing how the three modes of nature work – this will help strengthen the intelligence and also give you a very different perspective on how people are being conducted by the modes of nature. (Refer BG Chapter 14 and Chapter 18)