“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus”, said legendary martial arts champion and actor Bruce Lee. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines success as “the fact that you have achieved something that you want and have been trying to do or get”. It also calls a person or a thing that has achieved a good result as a success. Undoubtedly, a general idea of success is common to all which involves the succinct definition of the dictionary. However, success is a subjective term and depends amply upon the reference and the parameters one has set for himself/herself.
Although the definition for success varies from individual to individual, it never comes for nothing. To achieve the zenith of one’s goal, willpower, perseverance and incessant effort are required. In this journey toward success, some hindrances come, stumbling upon which a person might even fall down. In such a precarious situation, only a person unwilling to submit to the ultimatum dares to rise. Such a person not only abhors the excuses of fate, which many people in similar circumstances use, but also defies obstacles and deals with them tactfully. He focuses on analysing the causes of his downfall, and learning from his errors, attempts to overcome the hitches on his own rather than letting fate dictate his life’s course.
As a case in point, the words of one of India’s greatest Presidents, the late Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam ring loud. In his autobiography, ‘Wings of Fire’, he said, “Why be afraid of difficulties, sufferings and problems? When troubles come, try to understand the relevance of your sufferings. Adversity always presents opportunities for introspection”. Dr. Kalam had an enviable personality with optimism being the hallmark of his persona. As a testimony to the affluence of India’s role in space technology, Dr. Kalam believed that the source of success is “dreams which do not let one sleep”. It was this spirit of his intellect and his understanding of human nature which, in spite of his impoverished childhood, made him a permanent and respectable figure in the history of our nation. He was also an epitome of empathy, proving that victory and humanity can walk hand in hand as he relentlessly worked for this larger good.
Knowledge is another facet of success. A person whose constancy lies in acquiring knowledge is sure to become successful in the long run. The phrase that ‘knowledge is power’ finds greater acceptability in this regard. This power of knowledge is elevated intellectualism, which has over the years led to many astounding outcomes. It has not only accelerated a person’s prosperity but has also led toward breaking of overrated stereotypes and superstitions. The success of Darwinism is quintessential in this regard. The dawn of the Darwinian Theory led man to see the dogmas of religion critically. The unscientific fundamentals of faith were challenged by the intelligentsia with Darwin at the helm. His book, ‘On the Origin of Species’ asserted that human life evolved in a systematic pattern which placed the individual at the centre of creation, hence necessitating his progress. As a consequence to this, the rise of Industrial Revolution proved inevitable. Inventions and discoveries essential to strengthen a country’s economy and thereby satisfy man’s materialistic demands were made.
Over the years, many philosophers have put forward their understanding of success. In fact, a lot of self-help books take the matter of achieving a feat seriously. Books of this kind eloquently provide ways of becoming triumphant. It is often seen that the most successful people are those who have fortitude and bravery. It is important to take risks rather than succumbing to the fears of losing if one wishes to set an extraordinary example. Such was the case with J. K. Rowling, Bill Gates, and many others. It is hard to believe that a bestselling author like Rowling had her ‘Harry Potter’ series rejected twenty-nine times before being eventually published. It was her strenuous efforts and the ability to think beyond the risks which she took that success finally knocked at her door. Bill Gates, on the other hand, dropped out of Harvard, thus compromising on a promising career and started Microsoft. Today, the former is the richest author while the latter is the richest person of the world. However, one should take risks only after taking into account the pros and cons of the presumed outcome. A few instances should never be generalised because situations differ from person to person. Rather, true wisdom lies in choosing the risks meticulously.
In addition to that, success is an overarching term which includes the spirit of competition as well. Healthy competition helps in personality development apart from teaching one the ways of the real world. On the other hand, unhealthy competition makes a person contemptuous and dishonest. It is important that to achieve the desired ends one should adopt just means. Success which stands on the pillars of treachery can never gain respect. Deference is another important sphere of success. It is seen that successful people who respect others are admired in return. They loathe pride and arrogance that success generally is believed to bring in its train.
Success is a steady process, not an unending conquest, despite the widespread belief to the contrary. It should be seen as an instrument of encouragement and empowerment. Truly successful people are a country’s strength as they set paradigms which scores of people follow. Again, accomplishment in life must bring happiness to the individual. If success fails to bestow bliss upon the person, the entire amount of toil reduces to futility. There are people, who, even after being successful, hardly find themselves amidst the happy lot. This unhappiness springs from dissatisfaction which in turn arises from a person’s failure to comprehend the genuine nature of success. It is true that depending upon personal traits and priorities, success has different meanings to different individuals. But what is the point of amassing achievement upon achievement if there is no time to enjoy the fruits of one’s labour? Most people tend to forget this. The more victorious they become, the greater their appetite for triumph grows. Greed should never accompany success. This is where the story of Tolstoy’s ‘How Much Land Does A Man Need?’ deems fit to explain.
Tolstoy’s protagonist in this famous story is a peasant named Pahom who believes that if he had enough land, he would not even fear the Devil. Although, after a certain period he comes to acquire ‘enough’ land, it does not seem to satisfy him and the greed remains unabated. Subsequently, he decides to visit the Bakshirs who possess vast stretches of land and their Chief agrees to sell him as much land as he can walk around in one day, with the condition that he must return to the starting point before sunset. Otherwise, he loses both his money and land. In his avarice, Pahom runs as far as possible. Needless to say, by the time he returns to where he had started he becomes exhausted and immediately dies of fatigue. Later, only six feet of land is required to bury his corpse. The irony of the story reiterates that if greed comes home with success, the consequences of such achievements can be disastrous.
To conclude, it can be said that every achievement brings a definite responsibility along with it. Human society has always held great expectations from the successful lot. This so happens because successful people are experienced people. They are seen as the custodians of wisdom who have lived through failures and criticisms. People look to them in search of hope and courage. A new writer, for instance, would definitely find encouragement in Rowling’s life-story and so would a start-up in Bill Gates’. Every success, thus, has its own path with its specific share of compassion, optimism, sagacity and bravery. It is by embarking upon this difficult journey of life that a person is capable of leaving his trails behind and taste glory in the end.