Rajesh and Deepa were siblings and grew up in India. Both of them were exceedingly bright and were toppers in school. Rajesh did his engineering from a prestigious institution and Deepa did her medicine from a reputed medical college. Rajesh was two years elder to Deepa. After his graduation with flying colors Rajesh went to the US to do MS. After about 5 years he got married to a girl from India and moved to the US. They were a happy couple and had two children in the following years.
In the meantime, Deepa completed her MBBS, then MD got married to an engineer who was based in the US. After sometime Deepa joined her husband in the US and got herself a job in a hospital. They were a very happy couple and had two children in the following years. Both the couple Rajesh and his wife, Deepa and her husband were happily successful.
Doctors in the US earn more than engineers in the US, it seems. That’s when all problems started between the two couple. Rajesh’s wife compared the salaries of her bright husband’s and that of her sister-in-law’s learnt that she was getting a lot more. Moreover, Rajesh’s sister had bought a fancy apartment in the city. That was the final nail. This great misery caused in the mind of Rajesh’s wife created hell for her husband and children. All hell broke loose. Pandemonium prevailed; harmony lost in the family, Rajesh could not perform well in office and finally Rajesh could bear the ranting of his wife no longer. He asked his darling wife, “what should I do to get back harmony back in our house?” His wife nonchalantly replied, “since you are damn good in academics, study medicine and qualify more than your sister and earn more !!”
Rajesh the faithful and dutiful husband hated medicine; engineering was his forte. To him harmony was more important. He enrolled as a student in medicine at the age of 36. He went on to study Opthalmology a course for 5 years, then went on to do Masters and then after some experience with the local hospital, started his own private practice. He is successful. But is he happy? The answer is No. Is his wife happy? Indeed Yes!! In fact, after buying a slightly larger estate than her sister in law’s they invited her sister-in-law and her husband for house warming. Seeing the rich brother and his wife in their newly bought bungalow made Deepa sick to the stomach. That was the last time both the couples met and it is 3 decades ever since…
A once happy family got disintegrated. Not just the two couples but think about what would be in the minds of their children? What would happen in a larger macrocosm that is social Consciousness? Would the children ever discern between what is right and what is wrong. A situation that has been blown out of competition to be successful. Success by any means.
This is what would happen if we are so competitive and compare one with the other only with respect to the money, name, position, education, social status etc… Each one of us are unique and carry forward our vasanas (one’s uniqueness + tendencies) over previous life times as well as the present one. We will have to try and exhaust our vasanas to lead a happy life.
Competition should always be with ourselves and not with others. We are all unique and that is the design of life. No two leaves are alike, no two crows are alike, no two finger prints are alike. No one is superior than the other in all respects and no one is inferior to the other in all measures.
Only in sports we compete with the other, in life we compete with ourselves.
Consider our education system. Please see the cartoon. Our education system is designed to make everyone successful in academics. Unfortunately, no curriculum that we have had so far has taught us how to be happy. The cartoon in the picture shows a classroom in the jungle. As a matter of fact, everyone is a genius in their own special way. But if you judge a dog by its ability to climb a tree, or a penguin to fly or an elephant to jump they can’t. They would fail. In life every one’s question paper is different.
So, what is Success?
Success is defined as a progressive realization of a worthy goal. Success is not an all-encompassing definition that is for everyone. Success means different things to different people, at different times, different stages, different circumstances and the same yardstick cannot be used for all at any point of time. For some it might mean financial stability, for some professional achievement, for some making an impact in this world, for some having great relationships, for some creating wealth, for others it might be name, for some fame, for some achievements in sports, for some it is religion, for others it is education and so on… Everyone has their own meaning and measure for success. The definition of success has to be left to the individual’s own discretion. Of course, as parents we have teach them good values, spirituality and have them live their life based on their aspirations.
Seldom does success led to happiness on a long term. It doesn’t lead to satisfaction either. We say happily successful and not successfully happy. Success at any cost is ideology of a cancer cell. Success depends on the appetite of the person also. A story to reflect…
In a beautiful lake surrounded by a dense forest on one side, a mountain on the other a shabbily dressed fisherman was resting on his boat. A tourist from abroad was admiring the pristine condition of the lake and the surrounding but his eye chanced to fall on the shabbily dressed fisherman idling on his boat. He went near the docked boat and struck a conversation with him.
The tourist asked: not been out today?
Fisherman: Been out and have returned
Tourist: Did you catch enough fish?
Fisherman: Oh yes, enough and more fishes
Tourist: Planning to go fishing another 3 – 4 times during the day
Fisherman: No, I am actually done for not only today but for the next few days.
Tourist: I don’t want to meddle with your personal affairs but if you go another 3 – 4 times fishing, won’t you have more fish and more money
Fisherman: Then what?
Tourist: After some time, you can buy two boats, have multiple trips, catch more fish
Fisherman: Then what?
Tourist: Then you can buy a mechanized boat, with deep freezing unit and earn more…
Fisherman: Then what?
Tourist: When you have so much money you can idle yourself here doing nothing.
Fisherman: Isn’t it what I am already doing now?!
The tourist was a little envious when he left the place!! He saw someone original. The tourist learnt that everyone has a perspective and each one of them are unique.
The most important thing is that success should feed our responsibility and not our ego. Many people know how to handle their failures, but a very few know how to handle their success. We have seen many who have reached the top levels and fallen. It takes a number of steps to climb a mountain but just a slip, here a slip of character, a wrong decision would land one faster than the fall from the mountain.
When it comes to success, aim high, don’t say I will have a million dollars, then I would retire… No, set the target so high that you would never be able to reach. One of the CEO’s remarked, “If the goal is achieved then the target you have set is wrong.” With vertical expertise in one or two areas and with many horizontal exposures could see one through as an all-rounded person. With just one vertical and no horizontals would make one a nerd!!
The one vertical could be your profession, your business, your sports, or any other thing one is good at the horizontal exposure should be to cultivate good relationships, maintain good health, social contribution, learning to live a value-based life, living a life of character, prudence, temperament, courage, compassion, generosity, patience, respect, tolerance, Integrity, and commitment. All this besides learning one new skill every year like speaking another language, learning Tai Chi, learning Yoga, learning swimming and more…
Giving a run down, “Happiness is in the being whereas Success is in the becoming.” “It’s not EITHER or OR” It’s both. Be happily successful…