“when beating the opponent takes precedence in the mind over performing as well as possible….”

In “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience”, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the late Professor at Claremont, writes that “Competition is enjoyable only when it is a means to perfect one’s skills; when it becomes an end in itself, it ceases to be fun.”

He warns of the risk in competition “when beating the opponent takes precedence in the mind over performing as well as possible….”

In his commentary (“Timeless Leadership: 18 Leadership Sutras from the Bhagavad Gita”) on Verse 11.13, Debashis Chatterjee writes that “The real test of an evolving leader is his ability to function in a fiercely competitive field, and yet nurture the cooperative and compassionate nature within himself. Such leaders are able to hold these two paradoxically opposite stances while going into a combat-like situation.”

How do we cultivate this ability that the Bhagavad Gita points to?

In a conversation during the 2020 Kalinga Literary Festival, the economist and translator of many Sanskrit texts, Bibek Debroy provides the clue. “The lesson of the Bhagavad Gita, the fundamental lesson of the Bhagavad Gita….is to destroy the sense of ‘I’…”

Peace 😊

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