Saying ‘No’ to the pleasures of this world is one sure way to be an effective leader. How does this principle work? Most people in this world want to be happy and they seek lot of sense gratification. Many of them are also insecure when they perceive a threat to their enjoyment. At such times when they see a person who has himself given up so many things that they are badly seeking, they instantly feel safe. “Here is someone who is not after what I want”, they consider, “and he is only serving me” If over a prolonged period of time a leader is seen to make personal sacrifices, and especially if he has control over his own senses, he gains trust of other people.

When people seek their own gratification, it’s difficult to be trusted. That’s because if my selfish pursuits are my goal, then what’s the guarantee that when my happiness is threatened, I won’t harm others. I maybe serving you now, but that’s because presently my fulfilment is not hampered in any way. But once I feel threatened by you, I may not serve you, and worse I may also use you for my pleasure.

Kamsa lovingly served his sister by driving her chariot on her wedding day. However when he heard the prophecy that her eighth son would kill him, he immediately decided to kill her. Hiranyakashipu too loved his son so much that his eyes were filled with tears of affection as he rubbed the head of his child Prahalad. But when he learnt that his child had become a devotee of his enemy, Lord Vishnu, he was ready to kill the same son. On the other hand, when Parikshit Maharaj got the news that he would die in seven days, he immediately accepted the curse happily. His renunciation attracted great devotees to come from different planetary systems and take his association. When politicians amass great fortune, they are hated but if one of them lives simply, and only seeks to serve, he is trusted.

And when there is trust, love develops. That helps a team, family or a community grow. In a community when each member makes some sacrifice, and aspires to only serve, it has a contagious effect. One good thing leads to another and the family, society and Nation flourishes.

Therefore a leader has to be in a mood of sacrifice. He gives up pleasures because he has a bigger ‘Yes’ of service burning within. The desire to serve not only keeps a person happy, it also attracts others to follow suit.

Successful leaders at all levels lead from the front. They lead by exemplary renunciation of their pleasures for a higher cause. Their senses may demand objects for gratification, their minds may wage a relentless war against them, yet they happily say ‘No’ for a deeper purpose. That ‘No’ helps them experience a lasting happiness, and plants the seed of hope and sacrifice in others’ hearts.


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