By Jayaram V
What is true success? People know what success is and who
are successful. But they may not be able to tell you clearly who
is a successful person and what constitutes success. You will know
in the later part of our discussion why people have such difficulty
in defining success. For now let us focus on what success means
to different people. Success is a relative term. If a person is
making 10 dollars an hour and suddenly he or she gets a new job
and starts making 50 dollars an hour, that person will deem the
exponential increase in the income a great success. But now let
us turn our attention to another person who has been making two
million dollars annually, except this particular year during which
the income came down to just over a million. One million dollars
is a large sum of money by any standards. Many people won't be able
to save that much money during their entire life time. But that
person, despite a million dollars annual income, may still feel
unhappy and unsuccessful.
So what made the difference here? It is the expectation. If your
expectations are high, very likely you may feel disappointed with
modest achievements, even if such achievements may be viewed by
others as highly successful accomplishments. Sometimes, not only
your expectations, but the expectations of other people may influence
your thinking about success. For example, if you have highly critical
parents, who are difficult to please and who demand a great deal
from you, you may be under constant pressure to please them through
your achievements and may not feel happy at all, even if you have
done well, if you haven't met with their expectations.
There is another angle to success. Your concept of success is
deeply connected with your values and beliefs. If your value system
says having money is the most important thing in life, then you
will deem that as success. But if your value system says that apart
from having money, peace, stability, integrity, happiness and contentment
are also important, it presents an entirely different picture of
success to you. Some people are extremely wealthy, but not happy.
some people are plain ordinary, but very happy and secure. Some
people make lots of money, but don't save much. Some people don't
make lots of money, but save a great deal of what they earn. Some
people live with scarcity mentality even after they become rich.
Some people spend with a generous heart, even if they have limited
means. We don't know whether we should call one or the other successful
because we are not sure how far their lifestyles and their individual
habits contribute to their success or sense of well being. Let us
now analyze some of the most common views about success.
1. Success means being happy.
2. Success mean to win a game or a competition.
3. Success means to acquire something that you have been working
4. Success means getting a great job that is the envy of many.
5. Success means becoming rich, living in a large house, driving
a luxury car and having all the comforts of life.
6. Success means becoming a celebrity.
7. Success means getting recognition, name and fame.
8. Success means having status, power, influence and control.
9. Success means freedom from want, fear and insecurity.
10. Success means to be able to get whatever you want and whenever
you want it.
11. Success means overcoming failures, disappointments and obstacles.
Now what is the most common factor in all the above definitions
of success? These definitions view success in terms of achievement,
accomplishment, fulfillment and attainment. They allude to having
something, which you dearly wanted or which gives you an advantage
over others or which adds to your status, power and prestige. In
short, they tell you that success means realizing whatever goal
or dream you set your mind upon, from which you derive a sense of
accomplishment and fulfillment.
Many people are not sure whether they are successful or not because
they don't have goals. When you don't have clearly defined goals,
it is difficult for you to know whether you are successful or not.
You may have vague expectations, but they don't give you a true
measure of your success. So it is important that you set clearly
defined goals for your life or your career and work for them.
There are a few more facts about success. First, success does
not guarantee happiness or respect in society. Your happiness comes
from within and it is usually connected with your expectations.
If you have low self-esteem probably you may not be easily pleased
with your achievements and still feel unhappy about some inadequacy
or imperfection you perceive in yourself. Successful people, including
some big celebrities, with low self-esteem may spend a great deal
of their lives with the fear that people may ultimately find out
their incompetence and think poorly about them. As for the respect,
it depends upon how people perceive a successful person. We live
in a competitive world where many people, including our closest
friends and relations, would be too happy to see us fail. So successful
people know that success puts a great burden upon them to stand
up to the expectations of society and prove their merit time and
again. They also know that as role models of society, they are subject
to extra scrutiny and harsh judgment. Secondly, a successful person
need not always be successful and need not always feel confident
about success. No one can take success for granted. However knowledgeable,
capable, intelligent and skillful a person may be, past success
doesn't guarantee future success.
If you want to be successful, what should you do?
1. First have clearly defined specific, measurable and achievable
2. Remain focused on them day and night. Think of them as frequently
as you can.
3. Make the best use of your resources to achieve them, such
as your skills, your time, your intelligence, your knowledge and
your social skills. Your resources are your investment. They actually
constitute your wealth.
4. Be perseverant and persistent till you reach your goals.
5. Be flexible to change your plans, but not your goals.
6. Learn from your mistakes. Each time you fail, ask yourself
how you may do better next time. This "how can I do better" question
is very important and has a tremendous value in your success. It
is what creates people like Thomas Alva Edison, with tough minds.
7. Never give up. If you are focused on "how" you will not easily
give up till you reach your goals.
8. When you reach your goals, celebrate your success, broadcast
your success and rejoice in it.
9. Finally, share your success with others. Let them know what
makes people successful. Help them gain from your experience.
Suggested Further Reading