Wednesday 5 November 2008

Success - An Inexplicable Concept


In past, I have often felt inadequate in defining parameters to understand and judge success in life. The way it seemed to me, there was no way of saying when a person’s successful or a failure.

I tried to speak to people around me and found that people either were similarly confused on the topic or had some sort of a notion (even if in a vague manner) of what success meant to them.

I realised that for most of us who work, professional success is the only parameter in life. Some thought earning X would make them successful, while others dreamt of featuring on the cover page of a business magazine. There were a few who just wanted to own up a business and make it big (i.e. - make lots and lots of money). The only problem was that even they did not know at how much in the bank, they can term themselves as successful!

In my quest to understand this subject better, I have met some gurus - where the guru-mantra was taken directly from 'Gita'..."don't worry about the result, focus on efforts". Well, I by now have understood this bit - I have understood that success can only be achieved with the right mix of determination, knowledge, hard-work, right attitude, faith (just the way my first cartoon mentions)...

The problem still persisted...even if I had what it takes and I found my road to success...I still would not know how long is this road and what is my destination & where is my destination!!!

It is then that the second level of guru-mantra was given to me: I was asked to visualise my own parameters of success…which only made me think of things that money could give me. I thought of all the things that I didin’t have and in a typical middle class mindset, I realised that there is a cap to my vision as well.

Well, I am not against financial parameters, neither do I feel monetary gains to be worthless. But somehow I cannot keep that as my personal success barometer. I am sure there still are and will always be people who would have more money than I can even imagine. So – if money in bank becomes my success-gauge, then I already know I am doomed!!! Also, come to think of it – at what levels of wealth, do we ever say – “Oh, I have enough!!!”

After much thought, I have come to realise that there is actually a better way of looking at this entire scenario. I now think of how I want to be if and when I am 80years old, think about what kind of a life I would want to lead in that journey – whether it would be an average one or a memorable one. Without a doubt, I choose the latter!

I feel much at peace knowing that my success has to be balanced between things that can be bought by money and things that cannot be bought by money. I feel lighter knowing I am no longer chasing a dream that can never be fulfilled. I feel stronger knowing success is not any destination but the journey itself and I am ready to walk all the way.

I now find myself trying to make each day count, I now seek non-material wealth around me, I now chase learning and I now find myself happier…



Anonymous said...

Well, if you wanna live that way..

But I certainly feel that a person is successful when others consider him / her successful. i can be contended living on the Himalayas...that might b my ultimate aim in life...and lets assume i am able to do that...i have done whatever i wanted to do in life and in a philosophical kind of way - i hv truly lived a 'satisfied' life..but successful - i doubt!

To say - a satisfied person is a successful person (might be true) - is all about playing with words and their meanings.

I would personally never set "success targets" for me coz i think i'll be realistic while i do that and that in turn would restrict me. Thus, i feel that i'll consider myself successful the day others think i am successful / i don't give others a reason to think otherwise!!

Mudit Aggarwal said...


I read two major points in your view:

1. Being satisfied v/s ambitious
2. Successful is a relative term and thus when others by large term you as successful that is true success

Well - satisfied I the extent that I know my present is what it is. The question then arises, what motivates me - what makes me try harder...well, I too have my ambitions, I too have my dreams, I too have greed to fulfil - but they do not become my sole purpose of happiness and satisfaction.

Now, for being called a success by others - I am not in that league at all. I do not think my life revolves around what others may think of me. I would not allow others to determine whether I can consider myself a success or not! The feeling of achievement has to come from within and stay there. What others share with you may or may not be the truth anyway...but your conscience would never lie to you.