We spend a great part of our lives working. But why is it that some people thrive at what they do while others barely make it? Why are others enjoying themselves at work while their friends are stressed and tired? The answer lies in one word: “swadharma“–Swa means “one’s own” and dharma means “nature“. Therefore, swadharma means one’s own nature.
We must choose a field of action, including our livelihood, consistent with our nature or inclination. We can not change who we are, so it is best to rearrange our lives so that we are doing what we love to do instead of doing things that people said we should do. We follow our own internal compass and are in touch with our true selves. We do what comes natural to us and let the universe do the rest. As the Baghavad Gita puts it, “It is better to do your own duty, however imperfectly, than to assume the duties of another person, however successfully.”
Swami Parthasarathy likens the person who loves his job as working with his tailwind and the person who dislikes his job as dealing with a headwind. In aviation, a tailwind blows in the same direction as the plane and so it increases the plane’s speed and thus reduces the time required to reach its destination. A headwind blows against the plane and thus reduces its speed and makes the journey longer.
Working with your tailwind gets you to your destination faster and with lesser effort because you are going with the flow of nature and the universe. You are carried by the wind and all you have to do is enjoy the ride. Dealing with a headwind delays your journey and produces anxiety and stress because you are working against your nature and the flow of the universe. You are fighting the wind instead of riding it. If you are not happy at your job, pause for a moment and reflect on what you love to do. It’s not too late to let your true nature unfold and see the wonders that come into the world through you.