(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia “Management Universe” at: http://management-universe.blogspot.com/)
Is Success in Life a Mirage?
Success or success in life are much loosely used words. Generally, anyone who becomes a bit popular is seen or considered as a successful person. Is that really true? Are so called successful people really successful in all aspects of their life? Does being highly successful in some narrowly defined field(s), particularly at the cost of being failures in some other equally important aspects of life, equal being successful in entire life? Is it really possible to be successful in all the different aspects of life or is it a mirage? And if yes, how? This article discusses these issues.
Success: Wide Spectrum Paradigm
Success paradigms have a very wide spectrum. Seen as rich, turning into celebrity, becoming popular, getting known, seen as influential or recognition of your high status are pretty common success criteria for a very large number of people. In a way, this means that you tend to feel successful when other people acknowledge that you are successful. It may be out of your approval addiction. Even if you are not approval addict, you, on your own (irrespective of what others think), may also feel successful if you achieve certain degrees of any one or more of these things. However, even in here, if large majority of others think that achieving the degrees of success you have achieved in the parameters listed above are not good enough for you to be recognized as successful, your own assessment of yourself as being successful may get diminished in your own mind. Again, approval addiction, may be of lower order.
Also, if you have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) as per your assessment and others also recognize that you have achieved all of these but your own child thinks that you have neglected him/her all through his/her life and he/she hates you for that; are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) as per your and others’ assessment but you have treated your spouse in a such a derogatory manner (intellectually, emotionally and physically) that she/he is on the brink of asking for divorce or running away with another person; are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but when your father or mother needs you most in his/her sickness or any other trying situation and you are away on your business all the time and grossly neglect him/her; are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status), but fight tooth and nail with your brother(s) and/or sister(s) to meet some selfish ends and severe all the relationships, are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status), but you did not look after your children’s education, development and growth and because of this negligence, they ended up without any decent education, grew with skewed values, got into drugs and other bad habits, have become irresponsible and undisciplined, are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status), but you wife has not grown much after her marriage with you since you have not supported her enough as a husband, are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status), but you have not developed the capabilities of loving other people (your family members and some others) or have not genuinely loved them, are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status), but you have not acquired and assimilated the proper education to develop yourself into a cultured and refined human being and constantly brag about yourself, belittle others and are in a habit of ill-treating and insulting the people, are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status), but you have fallen into becoming a drunkard, a junkie, a womanizer, smuggler, bootlegger etc (even though the charges might not have been legally or socially acknowledged or confirmed), are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status), but you have got into habit of saving your face by impressing upon people that you are successful or better than them or many others and in the process you have to act, pretend, fake or camouflage (meaning that you are not a genuine person), are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but a large section of people also throw rotten eggs or shoes at you or in extreme case, plan to kill you or even kill you because you have antagonized them harshly, unreasonably and unethically; are you really successful?
You have all these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but you have been corrupt and greedy and have amassed money illegitimately (though may or may not have been caught doing so by law or by people); are you really successful?
You have all these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but have misguided the people dependent on you, manipulated and exploited them to achieve your personal interests, took wrong decisions affecting the people (and have not been caught by law or by people), are you really successful?
You have all these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but you have been responsible for hurting people physically or mentally or financially because of which those people suffered grossly in their life (and you have not been caught by law or people and you still live a high brow life shamelessly), are you really successful?
You have all these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but your thinking, advices, decisions and actions have led to careless accidents, skirmishes, battles and wars killing civilian and military people, are you really successful?
You have all these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but your thinking, advices, decisions and actions have led to provide, illegally or legally, such goods and services whose production, distribution, disposal and consumption pollute the environment and adversely affect the people health wise and economically, are you really successful?
You have all these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but your thinking, advices, decisions and actions have led the prices of basic human requirements like essential food stuff, water, education and health care soar sky high to the extent that the citizens of the country/world cannot afford them, are you really successful?
You have all these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but you have, in fact, bought all of these by manipulating/lobbying unscrupulously the power, the people and the media and it has not come to you by adopting natural, ethical and legal course, are you really successful?
You have all of these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status), but you have deprived yourself of understanding and enjoying the nuances and beauty of languages, science, biology, mathematics, technology, arts, sociology, civics, culture, nature etc normally learnt through formal and systematic primary, secondary, higher secondary and university education or even through informal self education outside of school and college, are you really successful?
You have all these (rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential, status) but you are not able to look after your health due to variety of reasons though within your control and therefore, you are perennially physically, intellectually, mentally, emotionally or spiritually sick causing troubles to yourself and people around you, are you really successful?
Most People’s Success Paradigm Is Narrow
In the earlier paragraphs, I listed down a large number of areas where if you are not successful, you may not deserve to be called fully successful in life despite the fact that you may be rich, celebrity, popular, known, influential and you have status. A person is fully successful in life only if he achieves success in all the spheres of life: personal life, professional life, home life, family life, married life, human life, social life etc.
However, most people’s paradigm of success is quite narrowly defined. For some, only becoming rich is success, for some getting a particular award is ultimate success, for some bringing up the family decently is success and for some, TV and news papers flashing their pictures frequently is equivalent of success. The fact of life is that many people do believe in these narrowly defined paradigms of success. If they see others getting these kinds of successes in these narrow fields, they feel impressed by such persons and many times they feel bad about themselves since they could not achieve that kind of success.
Even achieving the success in these narrow fields is debatable. Whether amassing a wealth of one hundred billion dollar is success in the “richness” paradigm of success or making forty billion dollars is good enough to be called success or say, earning few millions is also success or even earning a decent salary or income to satisfy the major needs of the family is also success? How much money one should collect for being labeled as successful in this narrow field of earning money?
Same question arises when people label someone successful because he is highly learned. For one to be labeled highly learned, does one need to acquire four PhDs or five post graduate degrees or any decent college education is good enough?
That’s why, based on the extent of quantity and quality achieved in these narrow fields, one starts getting known as more successful or less successful or just about successful.
You may achieve success (more success, less success or just about success) in some such narrow fields but then is it possible to achieve success in all the aspects of life; the aspects I defined in the earlier paragraphs to get qualified as fully successful (even here it may be more fully successful, less fully successful or just about fully successful)? Is that, then, a utopian thought?
Another relevant question about success is: what is more important in life; being fully successful by even moderate (just about OK) measures in all the aspects of life or being more or most (if one can define “most” in the context of success) successful person in couple of narrowly defined fields (like becoming rich, becoming popular, holding a very senior position like CEO or president of a state, bagging a very prestigious award etc) but being a hopelessly dismal failure in some equally important areas (dismal failure as a father or as a husband or being a white collared mass murderer by producing or serving goods and services that are very dangerous for human consumption like environmentally detrimental chemicals, harmful untested medicines, cigarettes, drugs, prostitution, child labor etc)?
Is it really possible to achieve success in every aspect of human life in superlative degrees (i.e. more success)?
The answer is “yes” and “no”- both. It will entirely depend on each person as to what and how much and how well he does in each aspect of his life.
That is the reason why for achieving success in all aspects of life one will have to set out his goals in each of these aspects on a timeline in terms of quality and quantity to be achieved, plan out allocation of his resources (most importantly his time) accordingly and most importantly, actually deploy them accordingly. Also, review from time to time as to what is his progress against the targets and is he deploying the resources as planned. He may have to carry out mid course corrections on all of these, if required.
In addition, it is equally important for one to carve out the correct value structure. Getting tremendous success in any field by flouting these values in fact is no success; rather that is a failure. An extreme case could be that a chief of a state declares an undeserved or unwarranted war, under some external compulsions, on the other state though his value structure does not permit him doing so. Now achieving the status of the chief of a state by fair means is definitely a success of very high order but as a president declaring a war that he personally does not believe in, is an utter failure. Under such circumstances, a successful chief of the state may prefer to resign rather than wrongly declare a war that kills millions of military and civilian people and come out as a more fully successful person.
If getting success like this in all the aspects of life is possible, then, why a large section of people do not achieve this? The answer is: imbalance. Some people tilt too much on trying to achieve quality and quantity of only few aspect of life forgetting or giving less importance to other equally vital aspects of life. The resources (including one’s personal time) by and large remain the same- they are limited. Now if you use too much of these limited resources only on very few aspects of life at the cost of other important aspects of life, you cannot achieve success in all of them in equal measures (quality and quantity wise). Thus, because of such imbalance, your overall success remains lopsided.
Is it then really good to have such lopsided success? Answer is common sense: it has to be a “no”. If you give too much importance to your professional work and therefore, do not spend from your limited time, appropriate quantity and quality of time with you wife day after day, month after month and year after year and then, if she disappears from your life by falling in love with someone else who cares for her or by taking divorce, will you call yourself successful?
Will it not be more appropriate in such situations to achieve even moderate successes in all the important aspects of your life rather than achieving tremendous success in just about few areas at the cost of being a hopeless failure in most of the other equally important aspects of life?
However, one need not aim at only moderate successes in all the aspects of one’s life under an excuse of the balancing act. It is true that balancing your resources and particularly your time over various important aspects of your life will mean spreading them thin and so the achievements may not reach their maximum possible or potential limits. Yet, if you are willing to think of ways and means of increasing your effectiveness and efficiency and implementing them in your day-to-day life, more and more quality and quantity successes can be achieved in large majority of all your important aspects of your life without neglecting any one of them.
Also posted by the author at http://success-achievement.blogspot.com/ and http://knol.google.com/k/shyam-bhatawdekar/success-in-life/6txz9nck6g3/14#
You may like to enjoy reading all the “Management Anecdotes” authored by Shyam Bhatawdekar at: http://management-anecdotes.blogspot.com/
(Also read Shyam Bhatawdekar’s “out of box thinking” articles at: http://wow-idea.blogspot.com/)
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