Thursday, September 3, 2009

Obsessed with Success... (Contd.)

Before continuing with my previous post on success, I’d like to link Kaddu’s post about ‘Failure is Never Final...’ for all those who missed it.

Coming back to the topic, I agree to the fact that different people have different criteria for success. A big success for one may not be such a big deal for another. For example, the other day, I didn’t think much of watching a kid on the street trying desperately to pull down a kite he had discovered dangling on the branches of a tree. But it probably made his day, that after about half an hour he managed to get hold of it and ran triumphantly with the prized thing in his hand. It would have even made not only a day but maybe even a week for him.

As I said, the criteria may be different. It could be fame. It could be money. It could be the dream job. Or, for that matter, it could just be a kite. But such successes are just a part of a successful life.

It couldn’t have been anything but the feeling of success when Archimedes discovered the principle of buoyancy while in his bath tub. (No wonder he ran the streets shouting ‘Eureka’…’Eureka’… even forgetting to dress himself)

Success would have just been what Shah Jahan must have felt on seeing the completed Taj Mahal.

No different would have been the success of the Wright brothers after the first flight of their plane.

How would have Neil Armstrong felt after setting the first foot on the moon ? Or for that matter, Sir Edmund Hillary after conquering the Everest ?

So, success can be based on anything. As the above examples prove. In the first case, it was serendipity. The second was success in love. The third was the success of imagination. The fourth being the highest example of thrill and adventure.

Now I would like to state some other examples.

Would you consider the Indian Prime Minister to be successful ? Every morning he wakes up with nothing less than a trillion problems on his mind. Does he feel successful in what he intends to achieve ? Which is, the ultimate well-being of the nation.

Is Barack Obama successful ??

Are the Ambani brothers successful ? Obviously they are the richest Indians in the present times. No matter they are fighting bitterly between themselves. But they have in their accounts, the amount of money that many people can’t even think of.

Was Michael Jackson successful ?

I hope don’t you don’t laugh at my next example…. but…. is Sachin Tendulkar successful ? Yes, I know he holds more number of cricketing records than almost all the present cricketers combined. Ok, he may not give the Ambanis a run for their money, but he has ENOUGH for himself. And talking of fame, you cannot find a single Indian (ok, make that 10 Indians) who don’t know him.

But if you ask Sachin if he considers himself successful, I can bet he will answer in the negative.

Reason ? If you may have seen his interview a couple of days back on the television, he stated that he is not yet satisfied. And he has that never ending hunger to perform which goes on and on.

Which makes me think that for any person to feel successful in his or her own eyes, there is just one criterion. And that criterion is SATISFACTION.

Satisfaction in whatever you dream of achieving.

If one dreams of inventing the time machine, but ends up being the director of the best technological institute of the world, he will not feel successful. But he is a great success as others see him.

If one dreams of being a psychiatrist, but ends up becoming the best cardiac-surgeon, he will never feel successful. Obviously appearing to be highly successful for everyone around him.

The girl who died in Delhi, scored 93% in her boards. But failed to get into LSR. For everyone, she was not successful.

If one dreams of marrying his beloved (who gets married elsewhere) and ends up becoming the richest person I can only wonder how successful he’ll consider himself to be. But don’t we all consider the richest people to be the most successful ??

Which means that there is a difference between being successful and appearing to be successful. And that is probably what people today fail to understand. They would rather appear to be successful than feeling good about themselves.

Short term successes could be anything. It could be fame, career, position, love,…. even money. But the real success lies in the feeling of satisfaction. And that is something that no one else can judge but the person himself.

Most people these days are giving up on their dreams for the sake of money. They feel that big money can buy name, fame, and all the luxuries of life.

If only money could buy satisfaction…….


  1. Hey Shobhit,
    Loved your last two posts. It made me think about my current position in life which is very similar to others, one of uncertainty and full of decisions. I normally like to use the word happiness for satisfaction. If you would like a slightly spiritual take on this issue, please refer to my link below. Cheers.

  2. Ahhh!

    "difference between being successful and appearing to be successful."


  3. The abstract scientist :

    Yes. I guess one could use the word happiness for satisfaction. Because one is obviously happy when one is satisfied.

    Going on to read your take on this now. :) Cheers.

  4. Kaddu :

    A big difference... isn't it ? :)

  5. Success! Shah Jahan? Completing Taj Mahal!

    Only thing was those who built it lost their arms and who paid for it lost their family members because they have to sell them in slave market!

    Who cares what happened in the past?

    It is a monument of love, we are told; What ever be the cruelty behind it!

    This is what I call pathetic.

  6. Anonymous :

    Right. But what is even more pathetic is when we Indians go berserk on the topic of whether or not the Taj Mahal should be included in the wonders of the world. Double standards has been a hallmark of our characters since long.

    By the way, I didn't mention Shah Jahan to glorify him. I was just relating to the result of a dream. It may have been the architect's or the mason's. But it was a success.

  7. Yeah, you are right in one aspect.

    By the logic of yours, Hitler should equally be proud(oh! I should call it success) of his achievement of sending many Jews and Slavs to death? I have a little doubt, whether this can be called success too?

    "Double standards has been a hallmark of our characters since long."

    My inane brain does not get this.

  8. Anonymous :


    Did you really get my logic where I clearly mentioned in my comment above, that "I didn't mention Shah Jahan to glorify him" ??? So where does Hitler come into all this ?

    I guess your only problem is with my naming Shah Jahan in the post. :)

    And by "Double standards has been a hallmark of our characters since long."...

    I mean us Indians use double standards for almost everything. On one hand we make all the noise in the world when someone objects at the Taj Mahal being included in the wonders of the world. But on the other hand, we ourselves so proudly declare it as a symbol of cruelty.

    Even in everyday life, we never cease to fanatically worship numerous Goddesses. But we ourselves treat our own country-women as trash. If those are not double standards, I don't know what are...



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