Sloka

Shreyaan swadharmo vigunah paradharmaat swanushthitaat;
Swadharme nidhanam shreyah paradharmo bhayaavahah.

Translation

Better is one’s own duty, though devoid of merit, than the duty of another well discharged.
Better is death in one’s own duty; the duty of another is filled with fear.

Interpretation

This is one of the most famous shlokas of Karma Yoga in Bhagavadgita. In this shloka Lord krishna talks to Arjuna about the one’s own duties and one’s own actions and compares them with actions we perform on other’s dharma. Here Lord Krishna explains that doing the actions that is defined by his own dharma is much better even if it doesn’t give any merit. Doing actions confirming to one dharma even though it is not successful is much better than the actions committed by other’s dharma, that gives success. Lord Krishna also says that It is better to die doing one’s duty, as doing actions copied from others dharma is worse than death!

Extending Interpretation to Mankind’s Life!

How many times it has happened that you choose a particular specialization or a particular profession just because your friends are doing it or it is suggested by them!! Is it right? It is not right because, when you don’t choose your dharma and perform actions accordingly, you will never be able to get success in life. Just because your friend is studying a particular subject, you also select the same, then you will always be under him because you are following him, so you will always be behind him. A person who doesn’t have the ability to lay a path for himself can never attain success in any path that he walks.

So, its always better to choose what we want. You should sit quietly, meditate and talk to yourself. When you talk to yourself in total silence, you will get a path and that path becomes your dharma. You need to adopt that dharma and start doing actions to fulfil that dharma. Then success comes automatically. Even if you don’t succeed it is better to have your own path because, one day you will learn how to succeed following that path. But if you keep following other’s path, hoping to meet some success, you will never be able to get anything. It is because the fruits of success would already be consumed by the person who walked before you on that path, and there is nothing left for you.
Following other’s path and adopting them as your dharma to do actions  is worse than death. It is because you would remain as an ignorant and foolish person who never does anything on his own. Such situations will morally and spiritually degrade you and make you an inferior person. So, a great person is the one who identifies his dharma and starts doing actions to accomplish it, rather than comparing himself with others and measuring success or failure from the yardstick of others!