A seven letter word, it is attained with great difficulty; a sense of achievement and everyone wants it. Yes. The answer is SUCCESS.
So, what is the secret to success? This question reminds me of the story of Socrates and his secret to success. A young man once asked Socrates the secret to success. Socrates requested the young man to meet him near the river the following morning. They met. Socrates asked the young man to walk with him into the river. When the water rose up to their neck, Socrates took the young man by surprise and ducked him into the water. The boy struggled to get out but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started losing colour. Socrates pulled his head out of the water and the first thing the young man did was gasp and then he took a deep breath of air. Socrates subsequently asked the young man as to what he wanted the most when he was struggling under water, to which the boy replied, “Air.” It is then Socrates said, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it. There is no other secret.”
According to the great writer and philosopher A. Bronson Alcott, “Success is sweet: the sweeter if long delayed and attained through manifold struggles and defeats.” A beginning, a struggle and a victory; indeed, the sweet taste of success can be truly be savoured only after a period of great resistance. An entertainer, whose exceptional performance is received with a standing ovation, has repeatedly rehearsed offstage for hours and days. Similarly, a business owner has worked unobserved, late into the night for months, to achieve success. Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without struggle; just as there is light at the end of each tunnel, there is success at the end of each struggle.
However, success is a relative term. It means different things to different people. For instance, for a musician, success would be having his work loved by his fans or, having an exhibition in a famous art gallery may imply success for an artist. Some people associate success with position, wealth and fame while some associate it with having a loving family, good friends and good health. Money by tradition has been accepted as the measurement of one’s success or social status. While the majority relate success with material gains, others who beg to differ define success merely as a state of the mind.
Success is significant in every sphere. Every young and aspiring businessman envisions flowing profits, happy customers, being acknowledged; basically, a successful life. Not restricting success to the business world, even children today, have taken upon themselves to be successful in whatever they do. Reality shows, peer or academic pressure and cut throat competition have exposed the nasty side of success.
The idea is to keep success sweet. A teacher once yelled at a boy for not paying attention and for not being able to solve straightforward problems. She foretold that would not become anybody in life. This boy was Albert Einstein. A young man was fired by a newspaper editor condemning him to be “lacking imagination and creative ideas.” He was Walt Disney. In 1940, a young originator named Chester Carlson took his proposal to twenty business houses, including some of the biggest names in the industry. It was turned down by all. After seven long years a small company in New York purchased the rights to his invention which was an electrostatic paper copying machine. This small company went on to become Xerox Corporation. The commonality among these gentlemen was that they continued to believe in themselves even after being rejected. Their perseverance and continuous efforts led them to become epitomes of success in their respective fields.
Success goes beyond the sports cars, luxurious penthouses and designer labels. You may have everything but still not be happy or satisfied. Also it is not a matter of luck. Luck may play a role in success but success is not limited to the luck factor. Diligence, positive attitude, persistence, passion and self belief are the core ingredients of the success recipe. The key is not to make success your aim. One must try to aim and achieve one’s true potential. The journey undertaken to achieve one’s true potential should be backed by the core ingredients; success and happiness will automatically follow.
So, what comes first, success or happiness? Studies clearly show a strong correlation between success and happiness. It is an unwritten hypothesis, that it is predominantly success, which leads to happiness. However, you do not achieve success until you are truly happy. According to Mahatma Gandhi, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”. Success is a realisation of our true potential and a happy state of mind facilitates just that. Sharing laughter with near and dear ones, serving others, being amiable and making social contacts are ways of achieving happiness. A relaxed and open mind helps to recognise opportunities that will lead us to success. Indeed, happiness leads to success.
Life is a combination of bitter and sweet experiences. It is important that one takes the bitter experiences in a stride and continues to persevere. It is necessary to taste the bitterness of failure to enjoy the sweet smell of success. It’s like a good night sleep that one enjoys after a long tiring day at work. Aim at excellence and success shall follow. Attaining success means having the freedom and ability to do what you enjoy and believing it to be worthwhile, having found your true potential.
Success is a journey and not a destination. It is the process of reaching one’s desire which is important and not the end result. It is the journey that makes us stronger, wiser and successful. It is essential to keep success sweet, who knows, the next success story could be yours!