We develop the power of steadfastness by cultivating self-confidence in our practice and in our meditation on virtue. This was stated by Buddha in the Vajradotsa Sutra, a section of the Flower Garland Sutra (Skt. Avatamsakasutra). We cultivate self-confidence by examining beforehand what has to be done, according to our capacity, and then completing whatever we have started. If there is a virtuous action that we are unable to complete at present, we should postpone attempting it until a later time. Confidence in our ability will grow if we are realistic about what we can do and approach each action we undertake with a steady mind.
Many faults and disadvantages arise if we continually abandon the actions we have started. It is very unskillful to neglect one path in favour of another, only to abandon that path in order to begin a third. This erratic type of behaviour places negative imprints on our mind leading to a future inability to complete our Dharma practices. Both now and in the future we shall experience an increase in our dissatisfaction and shall discover that whatever good we do will take a long time to complete and will yield only meagre results. This is an important point because nowadays many students practise like this. They jump from one meditation to another and therefore never accomplish anything. If we want to achieve results from a practice, then once we have started it we should complete it with self-confidence and thereby weaken the power of delusion. Because such self-confidence encourages us to practise Dharma, helps us to abandon non-virtue and increases the power of the opponents to evil, this attitude of mind is anything but a delusion.
Self-confidence in the practice of virtue can be generated by cultivating the following thoughts:
I alone will practise all that is virtuous. Those who are powerless and under the control of karma and delusion are unable to benefit themselves or attain their own purposes. Worldly people are completely unable to make their lives meaningful. Therefore, I will practise what is virtuous for the benefit of all sentient beings. While others are engaged in inferior and menial tasks in which they encounter many difficulties, how can I sit here at peace and do nothing? I must and will benefit them, but without ever succumbing to the poison of self-importance.
(Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Meaningful to Behold: Becoming a Friend of the World, pp. 277-278, © 1980, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2007)