Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Does success matter? (Part 1 of 2)

We live in a world that is obsessed with success at least in materials terms. The one who has the most toys is considered a winner. Friends flock and enemies envy those who make it to the top – be it in cash, kind or position. It is said that nothing succeeds like success. And winning is everything. Is it true? Does success really matter? If yes, how much? Is there more to life than marks, ranks, trophies and money? 
Here is a 2-part blog post. In this part, I've talked about the stress and strain of success. Then on how to react to success. Because honestly, many do not know how to handle success. In the second part, I will talk about how many success stories turn into tragedies. In conclusion, we will talk about an alternative to success. Be assured it is not failure. There is more to life than to be just successful. In fact, Jesus Christ said, “What if the man gains the whole world and still loses his soul? What can he give in return for his soul?”. There is more to life.
Any winner can tell you that success is a lot of hard work. It demands physical and mental energy. As a result, an obsession with success can drain off all your energy. In the journey of life, success is a passing station. Those who enjoy the journey – be it at school, college or marketplace, have more time. Those who are obsessed with a brief stop-over at the passing station of success, seem to have less time. A key issue is: success at what cost?
I recall watching on TV a 100m running race at the Olympics several years ago. At the end somebody (Ben Johnson?) was crowned as the fastest man on planet earth. A few days later, he was stripped of his gold medal after being diagnosed with using performance-enhancing drugs. Success turned into shame! What was worse was his untimely death as a result of side-effects. Today, everybody wants success. The first question to ask is: AT WHAT COST? Not at the cost of personal integrity. Not at the cost of family and relationships. Not at the cost of future. Therefore go for success which is worth your blood, sweat and tears. Don’t settle for empty cups, bigger numbers and fleeting fame.
The problem with success is that it changes hands and no one holds it forever. If you don’t believe me, just look at the Football World Cup or Wimbledon hall of fame.
The obsession to succeed puts tremendous pressure on a person to prove himself or herself. This pressure results in mental stress and physical strain. An interesting problem with success is that the more you succeed, the more you will want to succeed. There is no end to obsession with success. If you thought success will relieve all the pressure, stress and strain, you got it wrong. It only puts additional pressure – the pressure to prove yourself, the pressure to show that you’re not a one-time wonder, the pressure to live up and the pressure to defend your position. So before you want to succeed, count the cost! May be, you should even consider how you will react to success.

Once there was a dog race. The challenge for the participating dogs was to catch the speeding, electronic rabbits in their respective lanes. Obviously the electronic rabbits were programmed to be faster than the chasing dogs. But then one day, when the race was on, an electronic rabbit broke down on the lane. The chasing dog caught up with it. Having done the incredible, that is catching the electronic rabbit, it now did not know what to do. It was just jumping around the broken-down rabbit. Well, how will you react to success in your life? Some get puffed up with pride. Others look down on others. Some others set higher goals and start the rat race again. A few will be like a turtle on top of a concrete pillar and saying, ‘I’m sure I didn’t get here by myself’ and they will be thanking God and people who mattered in the journey. Let not success get into your head or failure into your hearts. Success has spoilt many and don’t you add to that list. Success is a good time to feel good about yourself and a great time to show gratitude to others.

... to be continued


  1. Wow..! When can we expect the second part sir..!

  2. Hi, I intend this to be a weekly blog. So come back in a week's time. I hope to have the concluding post on 'Does success matter?'

  3. Wonderful post sir! I believe everybody has faced this situation some time in their life. The rat race has not left us with enough time to sit back and think "AT WHAT COST". What matters is to succeed...to grow...to be best...in all spheres of life. Its the greed which brings the human life to fallacy!!!

  4. You're right! I think the 'winners' are paying a huge price! Hope you'll read my sequel post wherein I've suggested an alternative to success.

  5. sir your writings are highly informative thank u sir.