An Indian Monk’s Wisdom on Setting Courageous Goals

Swami Vivekananda’s valuable teachings and wisdom are relevant even today.

I used to think affirmations were a joke.

What good would it do repeating some sentences over and over again in my head?

But once I started this practice, there was no looking back. I remember one morning, after finishing my workout on the terrace, I started speaking some affirmations out loud. After a while, I felt such a surge of positive energy that I walked to the edge of the terrace and screamed out those words into the world.

I could feel this power coursing through my veins, this feeling that I can do whatever I want. That no one could stop me. This was the day the idea of quitting my job and pursuing my writing full-time took root in my head. Since then, I took some steps and finished some remaining chores, and last week, I mustered the courage to finally hand in my letter of resignation.

Had it not been for that one day of screaming out to the world that I’m capable of whatever I set my heart to, I’d probably have been on a different career route.

And now, here I am writing this article to inspire you to incorporate affirmations in your life.

I’m not the only one to have this revelation. Science has proven that regular repetition of affirmations can encourage your brain to take these positive affirmations as fact. When you truly believe you can do something, your actions often follow.

I come from India — the country that gave birth to two religions (Buddhism and Jainism), the ancient science of Ayurveda, and the six schools of Hindu philosophy, including Yoga. Needless to say, when it came to affirmations, I turned to the Hindu monks for inspiration.

I found solace in the teachings of Swami Vivekananda — the patriot saint of modern India. Born in 1863 and revered for his vast knowledge of Eastern and Western culture, deep spiritual insight, and fervid eloquence, his philosophy is responsible for single-handedly bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century.

This post discusses five quotes from Swami Vivekananda that can be used as affirmations. You can keep repeating them until they become ingrained in your soul to achieve mental peace and reach your full potential. Don’t hesitate to scream them out loud if need be. In the words of Vivekananda himself,

“Talk to yourself once in a day, otherwise you may miss meeting an intelligent person in this world.”

1. “The perfectly unselfish person is the most successful.”

The great secret of true success and happiness is asking for no return. Do your karma with full dedication. Then, sit back and wait for the universe to send rewards your way.

Don’t embark on a journey with expectations of success. Find joy in the process and watch how this changes your perspective.

You don’t need to worry about what everyone else thinks of you as long as your heart’s in the right place and your intentions are clear.


2. “We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”

Your words and actions don’t matter as much as your mindset does. Your thoughts have the capability to traverse into the future and attract better opportunities.

Success in almost every area of life can be influenced by how you think about your talents and abilities. Once you harness the power of a growth mentality, studies show that a growth mindset can be essential for career success.


3. “All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.”

The oldest cliche in the book that a new window opens whenever a door closes might not be complete hearsay.

So often, we focus only on the negatives. We cry. We lament for so long over lost opportunities that we miss the greatest positivity right in front of our eyes.

Sometimes, all it takes to turn your perspective around is a mindset shift. And as Vivekananda says, maybe stop crying that it’s dark and clear up space in your heart for all the light of the universe to come in and change your life.


4. “Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.”

There’s no benefit in judging others, in resenting them for the choices they make, especially when it doesn’t affect you in any way.

If you see someone struggling and you can help them in whatever small way possible, go ahead and do it. Spread some sunshine into the lives of those who can’t afford it, and watch it bring dividends your way.

If you can’t help them, then offer them your good wishes, maybe even whisper a prayer, and move on. There’s nothing to be gained from forcing them to make a show of their misery and deriving perverse pleasure out of it.


5. “In a day, when you don’t come across any problems — you can be sure that you are traveling on the wrong path.”

So often, we get demotivated by small failures. We believe that our only purpose in life is to succeed in whatever endeavor we start. This mindset stops us from deriving lessons from our failures.

Setbacks are proof that you’re making progress. That you’re learning and growing. The end goal doesn’t matter as much as the lessons you pick up along the way do.

When you follow your heart, you might not always be safe or failure-proof. But at least you’ll be on this journey of being the best version of yourself.

At least you’ll be happy.


Final Words

There’s great wisdom to be found in Vivekananda’s teachings. I’m grateful to the universe for sending his words my way when I needed them the most.

In case you’re wondering what was that one affirmation that inspired me enough to muster the guts to quit my job, it was this-

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.” — Swami Vivekananda

Maybe that’s all we need.

One idea. One dream. And determination enough to convert that dream to reality.

Maybe that’s all there is to life.


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That’s all from my end today. I’ll see you again soon. Till then, stay strong. Keep smiling and be awesome.

With love,
Anangsha.