How to Manage Worldly Success?

Worldly Success and goals

by Jayaram V

What do you do when you reach a goal or cross a milestone? You probably celebrate the occasion and move on. That one success, may not radically alter your life, but adds some weight to your self-esteem. It also does not guarantee that you will be successful next time. If any, it puts more pressure on you as it increases your expectations and those of others. Success is thus a double edged sword. It brings many rewards but also complicates your life and increases your responsibilities.

Your life is a series of happenings. Some make you happy, some bring you down and some do not leave any mark. Some happen because of you, some happen in spite of you, and some without even your knowledge or intervention. Amidst all this what matters is your attitude. Ideally, in both success and failure you should manage to keep your balance and restrain your reactions. You should not be carried away by success or lose your confidence and morale because of failure. However, in life we see that both success and failure change the way people think and act.

Success does not necessarily mean making it big in life. If it is the only definition, only a small percentage of people in the world can be considered successful. A truly successful life is one which is made up of many great moments, which need not have to arise only from achieving success, or having an abundance of wealth. It can arise from any event in which you experience elation and fulfillment.

You experience success when you fulfill your desires, reach your goals, achieve your desired ends, or meet with your expectations. When you succeed in these, you experience happiness and fulfillment, and feel good about yourself. Your desires and expectations need not be about wealth. They can be about anything, which you consider important in each situation.

Having desires and fulfilling them is one of the many ways in which you can enjoy life and experience fulfillment. It is the worldly approach, in which you tie your happiness to having things and enjoying them. Our scriptures tell you that it is not a good strategy because it can potentially make you unhappy, whenever you fail to fulfill your desires or meet with your expectations.

Experience teaches that we cannot always expect to fulfill all our desires because we are subject to many limitations and we cannot control every process and power that shape our lives. It may not be even a sane idea to entertain such a notion. The limitations put a heavy burden on all of us. They make even the most successful and wealthiest people in the worldly unhappy, uncertain and anxious, because although they are very successful in some ventures, they are equally, if not more, vulnerable to failures and disappointments.

What this means is that in life if peace is your aim, you should have both worldly goals and spiritual goals. The latter should be able to prepare you for setbacks and failures and protect you from the shocks and disappointments that you may face in pursuing your materialistic desires. They keep you sane and balanced in a competitive world, and also help you to uphold your character and integrity in worldly matters. For example, the following spiritual goals will teach you to stay in control and hold your ground when the going gets tough.

1. To remain undisturbed by success or failure.

2. To give your best in every task and not take any failure personally.

3. To learn from your failures and move on.

4. To take responsibility for your actions.

You may even consider them your principles rather than goals, and apply them to every action and situation in your life. You should build your character with spiritual aims while you build your life with material goals and ambitious plans. The ancient Hindus practiced it. They had four major aims: to secure knowledge of moral duty (dharma) for the sake of gods, ancestors and children, earn wealth (artha) to serve family and society, enjoy pleasures of life (kama) for the sake of the soul, and work for spiritual liberation (moksha) for your own sake. Historically, it is the most balanced, intelligent and holistic approach you will ever find in any culture or society.

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