With youth: Competition, Planning, Career

Acharya Prashant
5 min readJun 21, 2022

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

Acharya Prashant (AP): Manoj asks, ‘Given that there is so much competition, how do I plan my career?’

Manoj, can I solve a problem if I do not understand it? Can I solve a problem if I do not understand it? You said that there is so much competition, so how to plan my career. Now, look at the three words that are involved in it. ‘Competition’, ‘plan’, and ‘career’. Do we really understand any of these three words?

Do we understand what is competition, and what is a competitive mind? What is a mind that is always competitive and that is always thinking in relation to the other? Such a mind is an afraid mind. Such a mind does not look at itself because it is so busy looking at the other, its life, all its activities. All its thoughts are determined by what is happening on the outside. So, if someone else is running at a particular speed, this mind might say that I have to run harder. If that fellow starts swimming, then this might say that I have to swim harder. This mind has nothing of its own. Somebody else dictates what it does? And it is always afraid. It is always afraid because its sense of accomplishment comes only in relation to others.

Are you getting it? Are you understanding this? Now at your age, when you are so young and have just entered college, if you are thinking that far ahead, then there is a problem. There are a thousand things that you can ask me, but see what you have chosen to ask. You could have asked me so many questions about yourself, but you are asking something that will happen three-four years later. Doesn’t that show that your mind is already apprehensive of something? And if your mind is so occupied that what will happen then, a few years later, can your mind be really alive to what is happening right now?

See, how do we enter college? When we enter college, we start thinking of what is going to happen in the fourth year or after the fourth year. Now if that is important, what will happen to the quality of these four years? If my mind is telling me that the really important thing will happen at the end of those four years, then what will be the quality of my first year, second year, and third-year? The real important thing is there so…

Acharya Prashant