Well before you jump to any conclusion about what this article is about- let me right away help you with that bit- read on if you agree, believe and want to understand why “success” is a mirage, the way it is largely talked about- and in reality has more to do about “you” and “what you end up doing with that “you” part of you! Well don’t get confused; success is nothing more or less, but the story about you- me and each one us- success is about how we calibrate our existence and aspirations in the contexts that we are provided with- at times by choice and few times by compulsion! So, join me here and lets understand what really “success” implies and how you can do what you can and must do; importantly also what you mustn’t do!
As individuals we would have defined success over a million times by now! Whether we started that with our first essay at high school, debates during college elections or that typical Monday morning corporate rant about the progress and work of the organization or the team that you lead or are part of – virtually every day of our life- we are introduced to some story of success and the barometer of that success interestingly keeps changing! Well yes- What you measure as success matters, but importantly what also matters is how are you measuring what you measure and are you really measuring what matters? This I believe is perhaps the most important questions that we must pose to ourselves to first understand what is our definition of success and it’s only when that self-definition of success is congruent and aligned to the one that defines success for the form you work at or the business or cause that you live for- that magic will happen and eventually you will end up touching and experience success the easy it is meant to be!
As we look around the world that surrounds us, the person making a quick sale of burgers is as successful as the top-end fashion store down the lane, or the investors in the stock market or that off politician who lives to keep his promises! To begin with everyone’s success is everyone’s individual and contextual truth! So any comparison even between two or more people doing even the same things doesn’t really make sense for the simple reason that no two people are the same ever- even if you were to ask them to draw a simple circle on paper- both of them would do it the way they see a circle or more appropriately the way they are able to express the circle! What matters is how well the same person is able to get the circle more and more right with each time that he keeps at it and that is yet another real measure of success! It’s never about the other person- it all starts with the individual and ends with the individual for the simple fact that no two individuals are the same and each one us brings our personalities into whatever we choose to do- irrespective whether we serve a burger, sell a diamond or make the buck in the marketplace! It is always about how well we can keep doing what we do- over and over again and if that is scientifically reproducible and has finesse- is what success is really all about! You may want to ask me right about now, isn’t success about being above everyone else, lead the race, be that “number uno” and all that crazy stuff? Well, my question to you right back is – Who told you that?
The whole problem, like many other things with humanity is- these “acquired beliefs” were right from the time you show some abilities of cognition, each and every person around you starts to corrupt your amazing brain and the pure grey cells with the whole unwanted dose of “being better than”, “he did that/ she did that”, “you know what” all these kind of narratives and many more like these and what we end up doing is set our brains and ourselves in the trap of always seeking to know where we stand vis-a- vis “someone! Now, this someone could be your co-worker, boss, junior, that vegetable vendor, that beggar on the street, that business tycoon or that sly gambler- well what we end up programming ourselves into are these paranoid comparison seeking machines- who always seem to be anxious to wake up every morning to see how much gain or loss we have ended up doing to ourselves because of “others”! The moment we see we are better off (rather we assume and perceive- which is a different malaise altogether!) than a few or more of the “others” around we are relaxed and feel confident about ourselves for no real reason and yet at other times when we see more tycoons or that odd school friend who suddenly seems to have hit the jackpot of his life- we are left wondering and end up making ourselves feel more anxious and uncomfortable ever thinking what a low life we are (which again in many cases could be far away from what the reality is!). The important fact that perhaps no one told you or possibly you have forgotten to record and etch is that the “other” really don’t give a f**k to what you think, perceive and how you end up feeling about yourself by looking at them, for they continue to do what suits them and that’s the reality of life! Each of us, works to what we can, to the best we can and there’s nothing more and beyond that can be added to this fact and this is the foundation that we all stand upon, whether we like it or not; we build on the foundation that we stand upon- this depends on how we reflect within and how we cherish and aspire to build the structure that we desire! No one ever built a great monument by emulating an existing masterpiece! Know that for now and always! So how do we about knowing what success really is for us as individuals?
Start from the start! Whatever you choose to do- has to originate from within you- Self-Awareness is perhaps the greatest master-key that each of us have to our own lives! It is about not only knowing what all you can achieve given the contexts that you operate within, but rather it’s also about what you must leave out, when and how much is enough- that is basically knowing your trim level! Another important aspect to work towards your success is stop looking for role models- yes I heard it- you are probably thinking I am out of my mind – but this is a fact and the quickly you learn this the better for you and your aspirational part for your ever elusive success! There are a hundred reasons why people become successful and trust me when they do- not one of them want to tell you the whole truth and their real contextual settings around what made it possible- because that is where the secret lies- that bit is perhaps the most ordinary and non-glamorous stuff and it has a perhaps the biggest potential to rob away all that unwanted attention that people end up getting because”few” perceive and create the “noise” about them being “a success story”! People who cherish success from the confines of the social compulsions- and entrapped in the conformity bias- will always do whatever it takes to camouflage the ordinary as some extraordinary bullshit and weave fiction within the threads of reality to create a mirage which doesn’t make sense but people are made to believe because that billion dollar worth mansion makes everyone believe what they see and this is the space which you really don’t even want to get into unless you too want to end up complicating your success story for the times ahead! Let me explain this bit!
Consider this, you come across this person who has become a burger legend- suddenly you have his details all across the tabloids, the local TV channels, radio stations, the social media everyone is going ga-ga- about this sensation who seems to be in his mid twenties and then you have that amazing PR and talk show and that paid- talk show- going all across the nation- where this person speaks how he got inspired by the humble burger! (I mean really?) and then goes on to tell how he walked down the pavement saw a kid who couldn’t have a burger because it was expensive and that became his mission in life! (I mean..whatever!) Further then it cuts to the present- so I worked hard and here I am! Well, how does this shit sound? Inspiration right- now let me tell you what would really have happened! He would have used his rational brain to sense a business opportunity to sell burgers at a specific price point and went to meet a few investors, or a bank ot to his rich uncles (who are obviously hidden from the star gaze) borrowed or begged that money and started a store and which was going to be profitable (read success- for this person) and that’s about it! So now this narrative got a bit low key, boring and non- engaging right? Well, yes, it is and this is the fact of life! Success stories are always more than what meets the eye and unless you train your rational mind to dig and see what is beyond the obvious, all that you will end up doing is end up comparing yourself with fairy tale characters and end up living and being successful in a non-existent world! Don’t fall prey to the trap of believing what is said, shown and sold because “AB” or “XYZ” said or showed or awarded- use your grey matter and rationalize what you see and limit yourself to the stories and the contexts that matter and are relevant to you within what you want to achieve and as you want to define your “success” everything else is pure crap of nothing more than entertainment value! Remember, each one us goes to the heaven we construct- no one else’s heaven or angels are coming to your funeral!
Humanity has reached a pivotal point, wherein a globally connected society has started to turn onto itself to facilitate greed, narratives and ideologies that serve a few and end up harming many! The whole smokescreen that begins with the “very need to define success” is a big illusion! Think about it rationally, if as humans we are different, emotionally intellectually and even as we understand, perceive and communicate- irrespective of all other things around- why and how can “success” be calibrated to a few and pre-decided formats? The answer to this question lies in the annals of societal greed and mass manipulation through coerced narratives to drive societies in a direction that a few want and these “few” unfortunately are the very role models and those aspirational characters that many of us would eventually succumb too, unless we fail to see what really is beneath and around this big smokescreen!
The “few” are and will always remain anxious about everyone else around because of two primary tings; firstly the largely ordinary part of their “extraordinary” success story- the worry of that being exposed and secondly there being a complete lack of depth to do anything worthwhile in the real essence of it! You see, when innovators have faith in the solution that has been devised they collaborate and share and move ahead together with a team and partners so that the benefits reach far and wide and can be adapted to suit and serve the varying contexts around the world- case in point renewable energy sector! A brilliant example wherein harnessing the bounties of nature has crossed boundaries and that has enabled empowerment like nothing else! Sure enough not all regions have been able to benefit to the same extent- but that largely has had to do with the ability and competence to execute a brilliant solution more than anything else! Remember, “real success” never remains within the confines of the “few”, it seeks a pathway and reaches the multitudes, who are then able to empower themselves by adapting the richness of the solution in the contextual settings that suits the given society! So what’s the takeaway? Simple…
“You” are the foundation of your success and stop developing/relying on what you see, are told and what you perceive- everything may or can be a mirage! Your heaven is what you see at your funeral and no two people ever go to the same heaven even though their funerals may be alike! Your “truth” is your reality and this contextual setting is the essence to decide how high, how far and how fast will you be able to surge ahead and when you will stall with the idea that you have! Remember, the idea is never extraordinary, it is the method of application and execution of an idea that makes an ordinary one into an extraordinary success story! It really doesn’t matter what your definition of success really is, it could be that 5$ a day or that 5000$ an hour bit, what matters is how much of it comes from within you and how much of it do you really own and control; because even the greatest idea and thought will be undone once that control and intrinsic value which comes from within is lost! Stop the unwanted and unwarranted comparisons, be aligned to who you are, what you aspire to be and work to the best of what you can be given the contexts that you are set up within and against and once you have this core alignment synced in- you will touch your aspirations and taste the success as you should- irrespective of what others say or as they perceive what you do!
I will leave you here, grab your drink, reflect within and seek who you are to begin with to seek what your aspirations are and from there can begin the story of your success in an original way!
Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article, until than stay safe and stay wise!