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“Success” : ‘success’ is a mirage, “it’s there, but it’s not”.

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By Shubhradeep Das


“…How to be used in the greater service to life. Ask this question, and the answer will be returned and rewarded to you with fulfillment, which is the major definition of success, to me.”- Barack Obama. Google a bit, and you should find a hundred other definitions of ‘success’ on the internet. But what is ‘success’? This question has intrigued me for a long time.
‘Success’ for me is the temporary feeling of satisfaction we get when we achieve a predetermined goal no matter what the goal is. It is a fancy term coined to appease our lust for self-fulfillment, it’s highly subjective and elusive, “it’s there, but it’s not”.
‘Success’ is an easy term to throw around, not so easy to wrap your head around. What’s success to you may not be a success to me; it’s a very individualistic concept.
It’s a sorry sight to see that we have reduced the term ‘success’ to mere financial supremacy or even worse, social media following. The fact is that ‘success’ has much more to it than just economic, social, or physical gratification. It’s a labyrinth that has engulfed many in their tracks.
Why do I call ‘success’ ephemeral or temporary? Because ‘Success’ is derived from our ability to quench our thirst for our desires. Human desires are incessant or never-ending; we may as call it infinite. How do you achieve infinity? How do you limit your desires?
The moment we meet a goal and become successful, we become unsuccessful at the same time for not yet achieving the next goal, which we decide upon due to our never-ending desire. It becomes a vicious cycle, and before we even realize, we are in a bloody rat race for ‘success’.
Let’s say you get a job, and you are earning Rs.50 k a month, is this success for you?? Yes maybe if it was your goal, but for how long? It won’t be long before you wished your salary was 70k, now this becomes your new goal, and the previous success becomes immaterial. That’s how volatile success is.

Think about the following scenarios:

Akshay is a software engineer earning Rs.1 lac a month, Akram is a painter who makes R. 25000 a month.
Rishav is a captain in a cruise ship away from his family for months, Rajiv is a small-time businessman who earns half as much as Rishav but stays with his family.
In the above scenarios, who do you think is more successful? Is it Akshay? Is it Rishav?
Akshay can be more financially stable, but does that make him more ‘successful’? Does the same logic make Akram ‘unsuccessful’?

How many times have you heard people deeming you ‘unsuccessful’ because you did not live up to ‘their’ expectations? In the above situations, what if Akram loves painting?

He is doing what he loves. What if Akshay is not passionate about software and he is miserable? Do you still think Akshay is more successful? So, who exactly gets to decide the criteria for ‘your’ success? Is it society? Is it your parents?
YOU! I repeat, YOU and only YOU! as an individual get to decide your goals, expectations, and priorities and which will serve as a yardstick of your success. Your success cannot be measured by the predetermined norms and standards of society.
Imagine, Virat Kohli, being judged for scoring low marks in school. You achieve ‘Success’ every time and anytime you achieve the goals you have set or even surpassing them, no matter how small or big your goals are.
The society for years has imposed its definition of success on us which has invariably boiled down to financial indices time and over again. It’s high time we stop bowing down the other’s expectations and focus on ours. It’s time we carved our way to gratify ourselves and not others.
I still remember back in my school days I had scored a 46 in chemistry, which honestly was very poor as compared to my peers. My tutor though it to be as bad as failing. I had treated my friends with exotic pastries the same day, and I had scored a 46 against a target of 40. Tell me, did I succeed?
From now on, whenever an individual addresses another individual as ‘successful’ or ‘unsuccessful’ don’t fall for it right away. Think to yourself, successful? Are we certain? Because the one sure thing, Sushant Singh Rajput’s death has taught us is that money is not an appropriate yardstick of success. He might have seemed successful to us, but he might have failed his expectations, it’s just an assumption though.

Life is a play and we ought to play a multitude of roles in our lifetime, the part of a son/daughter, a student, a professional, a husband/wife, a father/mother, etc. We should strive to play these roles to the best of our ability. Enjoy and cherish the temporary feeling of ‘success’ but not fall for the rat race. Like I said ‘success’ is a mirage, “it’s there, but it’s not”.

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