The Mirage of Success

What is success?  As we grow older the word “success” undergoes a major transformation. From our early view that success is getting a first class in your board exam, to cracking a competitive exam and much later to securing a dream job our notion of success undergoes a metamorphosis.

We are often told that “Success is not a destination but a journey”. This is true to an extent. However success cannot be defined in narrow terms of a specific context or a time continuum.

Success in life is dependent on not just our place in life but also on that of our near and dear ones and people at large. As we grow older success can not be based on only our achievements it will also depend on the achievements of people we love.  But then the natural question arises, is success really dependent on achievements. So do we think that a Michael Jackson or a Elvis Presley was successful?

Clearly this is not the case. Success is not dependent on achieving laurels, fame, respect or power. In my opinion it also does not imply sustained fame, respect or power.  To me success in life is how well a person is able to tackle the challenges in life. Success is also dependent on how well you can inculcate a sense of confidence, a sense of courage and discipline in your children or family member. Success also implies how we go about improving the lot of people’s lives in whatever small or insignificant ways. Success then means how we conduct our lives and how we inspire others to live well.

As we reach closer to the grave if we look back at our lives what will we think of? Will we recount the fame or the money we earned? Will we be able to look at satisfaction at the way our children carry themselves. Will be look back at all those times we were able to lend a helping hand to those in need?

Success as we know or visualize is nothing more than a mirage. The occasional triumphs, the victories or recognitions we get will pass.

What will endure are the principles that we hand down to children, the values that we inspire in others. That in my opinion is “true success!”


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4 thoughts on “The Mirage of Success

  1. pauladkin July 9, 2012 at 10:35 am Reply

    Our success will be measured by how long we can survive as a species. The most successful will be those who can find an alternative global system to the present surplus-producing and resource diminishing one of consumerism. If we can “save” the world that will be acknowledged by future generations as “successful”. But don’t worry, if we don’t, no-one will be around to judge our failure.

    • Tinniam V Ganesh July 9, 2012 at 11:52 am Reply

      Interesting view point Paul. You are referring to our success as a species. Let’s see…

  2. pauladkin July 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm Reply

    Yes, I think that the survival of the species should be an a priori element for all our ethical decisions. And the ethics of success should be no exception.

    • Tinniam V Ganesh July 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm Reply

      Basing ethics on the survival of the species is right but is quite a bit of a stretch. I was more interested in ethics of success in a human life span.

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