This is a very different subject that I have selected this time, and I am excited to share my insights as well as experiences with you. The topic is success and failures and how to deliver the best from it.
I am a sports person at heart. Don’t mistake me for a sportsman. I love analyzing a few sports person and based on my observations I gather insights into how they manage to keep up with their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
In my entire life, both professionally and personally, I have never met a single person who says they don’t want to be successful. In fact, I have seen people who want to attain success by hook or by crook. However, hardly ever have I seen someone saying “Hey, I am not running after success.” I was no exception to that rule till I reached my mid 30s, when I, for the first time realized that I was chasing success the wrong way.
I was always told that every person should have a decent basic education, should earn a good salary and live a settled life that is socially acceptable. However, I did fail at the start of my professional career, and how I thank my stars for that. Even before I could get a second chance, I was thrown off the tracks.
With time, I redefined success for myself, and today, I can happily claim that I am indeed a successful person.
The thing that I understood about success is that everyone perceives it differently, and there are some frameworks that allow you to take a sensible and careful approach towards understanding success. When I failed, I was not really prepared for it, and I went through a down period. I thought life had somehow ended for me. The reason was I bound myself to the social expectations of success, and that had come to an end.
My idea of success was yet to take shape, and triumph over others.
It is precisely for this reason that I am writing this piece. Success is not what you plan for or, something that happens unplanned. Success is different for each person. Your story and understanding of success would be different from mine.
For instance, success to most people is all about ranking 1st in the exams; however, when it came to me, I understood that success is all about being able to apply what you have learnt, in the real world.
As your strengths are different from mine, your success is also going to be different from mine, and we are all going to be successful in some way. If you bind yourself to a view of success defined by your parents, friends or the society, then you might never succeed in your mind or life.
Once I understood the true meaning of success, I realized that all this while, despite not being able to achieve professional coherence, I was successful. That led me to believe in myself, and actually vision myself in some place achieving my goals.
I understood that people around me have misconstrued the word success, which has resulted in many failures.
I have since mentored people, a handful of entreprenuers and developers, who I believed in, and have enabled them to achieve their lifelong dream of reaching the highest position in their job or business world. I reasoned with them that the idea of success is personal, and each thrives on a different experience.
This is a question many of you may want to ask at this moment. Why do I want to discuss success? Well, why not? Looking back, I realize that the traditional approach to goal setting suggests that we define goals in terms of measurable units. We also define the goal in a way that we can determine the process or steps that will help us achieve it.
These outcome and process of steps defines WHAT we want. But the crucial part of the value of these goals in our lives is to ask WHY you want to achieve them?
For example, you want to be rich, for those who lives below certain income line it’s understandable. For those above it, why do they need it? Similarly, many people do not want to be rich, they want what they believe rich people have. They feel the money will provide them things like comfort, peace, security, freedom, lifestyle, happiness, choices and maybe love.
In reality, many of the rich people do not have these things that their counterparts in middle or even lower income groups. Things like freedom, choices, happiness are inner experiences and most of the times, money does not guarantee having them.
Having said above, regardless your position or age in life, it is very much essential to ask this question to yourself, “What success looks like for you? – checking both what you want and why you want it.
Assume that you want to make entry into the Indian cricket team, we are considering that you play very good cricket. So, question is why you want that and what will it give you: money, fame, accomplishment, lifestyle, happiness or something else? All these are valid reasons so ask again, why do want it? What will this mean to you? what are other important things in your life? Fame and money are incomplete measures of success.
Here you should think of yesteryears fallen stars like Michal Phelps, Hansie Cronje, Lance Armstrong, Mike Tyson and number of other sports person or musicians or entertainers who have committed suicide or wealthy business person who succumbed to stress-related heart attacks at an early age.
In understanding the need to clearly define success, I am taking example of Mike Tyson. He was undisputedly World champion who earned $300 million in his career. He was jailed for sexual assault, drunken driving and confessed drug addiction and who finally became bankrupt in 2005 and said in one of his interview that, “My life has been a waste and I’ve been complete failure in my life. He was a role model for incomplete nature of material success.
Having explained the true meaning of success or, at least helped you look through the world and understand what success means to you, I believe you will realize the each one perceives it differently, and it has a totally different meaning attached to it. For some, it is all about being free while, for others success is material happiness. Instead of looking at others to understand the meaning of success, you ought to look within and ask yourself why you want to achieve a particular goal.
Understand whether you want to do it for yourself or, you want to choose this path because someone asked you to do it.
When I did the same exercise of asking question to myself, I realized that the things I wanted such as freedom, self-contentment, work life balance, some financial freedom (to do things I wanted to do which could not be something great), good health or may be after few changes in my habits and my lens how I see world are the reasons for success.
For me success is all about being valuable to others. people should remember me, even after I die, as a person who helped them build their lives.
So, what is the success you are chasing, and why? What milestones you want to achieve in your life, and what inner experiences do you want today and tomorrow? What will your success mean for significant others in your life and may be even for the world at large?
When answers to these questions make sense to you, you might find a well of inspiration and energy arising from within itself and driving you towards your own success stories by overcoming the hurdles and obstacles you will encounter during your journey.