In Kathopanishad, Yamaraj tells Nachiketa, “This (Brahman) rises and sets”.
Though Yamaraj spoke those words in the context of Yoga and spiritual practices, I think it could be said of every self-discipline one undertakes — for health, for study, for scholarship, for profession, or for relationships — everything. It rises and sets. As long as you keep practising, your capability, strength and state rise — improve; however, the moment you stop, they set down — fall back. And with it, all the good work you had been doing is also lost, completely erased. And then you have to make a new beginning. I have been learning languages for about 5 years now, and I am still not a master of some of them. So I have to keep practising them, reading short texts in each one of them every single day. And they include three Indian and four foreign languages. I know, if I just relax for a few days, I would slip back and forget all the words and grammar rules that I had learnt with so much difficulty. It is the same with nearly every subject of study and training.
Surely, a lot of hard work and persistence is required to reach the ideal in any field. But I think the basic requirement is commitment. It is commitment that decides how honest are you with your objectives and dreams. Without commitment, all actions and deeds are mere hypocrisies. Commitment makes you wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning, commitment makes you say ‘no’ when your friends invite you for a movie before your exams, commitment keeps a family together in hard times, commitment keeps a government employee honest, commitment keeps a young researcher stay in lab for extra hours, and commitment takes a journalist to war zones.
When one is committed, perseverance becomes easy. Without perseverance, there is an enormous waste of effort and energy. A task left unfinished, when finally picked up to complete, often needs to be started all over again. This repetition incurs so much time and effort, which could have been invested elsewhere to achieve something new. So friend, once you have decided to have a perfect body, mind, career, and life, why not keep up the consistent effort, which the process demands?