Two ways to excel in life

Acharya Prashant
4 min readJun 19, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Acharya Prashant: (Referring about the questioner) Studied The Fountainhead, and from there she has compared the qualities of the creator and the repeater- which she (the questioner) has called as the second-hander. And in a tabular form, she has presented a comparison of the qualities or attributes of these two sets of people. It’s quite comprehensively done, well done. Then she is asking, “Please help me understand how a person like me who was average in studies, is average in the profession, pursue some hobbies, but just for fun, can apply those learnings?”

She (the questioner) says, “I don’t see myself creating anything. My work is regular, where I carry out tasks assigned to me, I do it in the best possible way I can, but hold no desire to excel over there and the same is the case with all the hobbies I have. However, there is a faint desire to excel at something, which is sometimes felt in the form of uneasiness.”

You will have to grope in the dark a little, Vatsala (the questioner). There are two ways to go about it; both are effective, both are applicable. I will narrate both of them to you. She is asking, how to find out something that she can really put her heart into? She says, she has, in general, been average or mediocre in her studies and career so far. Now how does she find something that she can really be heart-fully devoted to? And in this obviously, the inspiration she is drawing is from the figure of Howard Roark.

The first way is the way of comparison. If you want to know what is it that you can do or what is it that you really must do, then look at your condition and find out what is it that troubles you the most, and that will tell you what is it that you are missing the most. It is an indirect way, it is a comparative way. To know what you must do, I am saying, try to find out what is it that you just do not want to do. To find out what you must do, figure out what is it that you just do not want to do. What is it that really suffocates you? What is it that doesn’t really allow you to live? And that will give you a hint. You will come to know the direction in which you should broadly move, right? This was the way of comparison.