Success or Failure, My Interpretation

So what is being successful and what it is being a failure?

Who defines whether I am a success?

Who has the right to define my life for me?

Is having millions in one’s account a measure of success or is success defined by the number of followers on social media?

Am I successful if I don’t get a ticket for jumping a light? Or am I a success when people are jealous of me or want to be like me?

I find success to be such an elusive force; yesterday I felt I have lived my life as I wanted to, today I felt something missing as if I haven’t reached their yet. For me this is important; because gradually my thoughts have transformed, I won’t say evolved, but they have transformed for sure. There was a time when I did define success as normally people do; in terms of money, power fame or designation.  And now my definition has drastically changed. I count my success and failure according to the present, the very present. If I am doing something that gives me pleasure, satisfaction or motivation then I take it as a success and every time I sieve through to find peace I term it as a failure.

By this very definition I am a success right now and it stemmed from the fact that I was unsuccessful ten minutes back. Because ten minutes back I was feeling restless and searching for some little accomplishment. The minute I started penning down my thoughts I became a success as my energy now is being utilized to create something.

Is this me escaping, putting up a charade to mask my fear of being a failure? No it is not so.

As an individual it is my right to love myself; it is my duty to hold myself in the highest regard above everybody else. I have the luxury to evolve or transform and to define my paths. And since ‘I’ as an individual can come up with my definitions therefore, I define my success and my failures. The minute I look towards the world at large to provide me with an absolute definition it fails me. Outside of me, there are no definitions of any kind but mere opinions and observations.

Consider this; a man struggles daily to do whatever he can to feed his family, at times he is able to earn more than the basic required amount while some days he just stares at his family’s hungry faces. Another man in another world has built an empire so huge that he finds it difficult to keep it intact, he never has to think about food or shelter or any such thing. The rest of the things are common between the two; both equally love their family and put their family before themselves and in turn their families love them back. Both took care of their old parents as per their resources, both try to give the best education that they possibly can to their children. They respect others and are respected back by their peers. Both are known for their honesty and helpful nature. So who among them is the successful person? Should money be the deciding factor?

Let’s go for another comparison. Two men, they have equal wealth. They zoom around the world in their latest jets. One reached here with hard work, dedication and some great luck and the other already had it from the beginning but he maintained it. He didn’t let his riches spoil him during his young age, rather he showed a lot of restraint and self control. So they both are successful, right? But what if one of them has no family and hardly has close personal friends while the other has all of this too, now who should be considered more successful? Definitely the one with family and friends, he is the obvious choice. So should success be defined by the quality of relations one has?

But what if both family and friends, yet one possessed sound health while the other’s internal organs were on the verge of collapsing; so does here health become a measure of success?

Success per say cannot be described by an outsider. I believe the moment one sets out to achieve an objective which would enhance or better the quality of time he has at hand or those around him or her, then that person is automatically a success. I am not measuring better quality of life here; because better quality of life includes so much more, a sickly person with a lot of wealth may not exactly have a better quality of life overall. Anyway, set measures that how many people know you or the money in your account or the automobile which you own or the watch on your wrist, these are all relative in nature. Somebody will own or have better; and from tangibles it would flow down to the intangibles and there would hardly be anybody who will have it all.

Success and failures just like religions and relationships should be a personal affair; till date the war is on about which religion is better; till date a socially approved yet decaying marriage is given more credence than even the most symbiotic love affair. So it goes that from the outside you only see glimpses and try to interpret the story while nobody understands the insights.

It can also be argued that success and failures are interchangeable and open to as many interpretations as the number of individuals who measure it up. My success can be someone else’s failure while my failures can be somebody’s success. A student wanting to become a professor and eventually succeeds in his ambition and counts it as his biggest success; while a graduate who wanted to be a researcher and instead could only find work as a professor, counts it as his biggest failure; to the world both of them are equally successful yet to each of them nothing could be farther from the truth.

So, who defines your success and are you successful?


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