Friday, February 11, 2011

Does success matter? (Part 2 of 2)

Many success stories have turned into tragedies. The way up and the way down are one and the same. How many times have we seen a promising sportsperson tasting success quite early in his or her career only to fade away from the limelight! How many times have we seen a business starting with a bang only to go bust a little later! Here are three tips that may help you avoid this tragedy:
No.1. Avoid complacency after tasting success. No two challenges are alike. Just because you succeeded once, it does not mean you will do it next time as well. Having a healthy respect for competitors usually has a reciprocal effect. Then the world will be a better place. It is said that when the sun rises in a jungle, every lion knows that it must run faster than the fastest deer to avoid going hungry. And every deer knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion to live another day. Each day has its own challenges. 
No.2. Avoid distractions after tasting success. Success comes with a price, apart from all the accompanying perks. Comparisons could follow. Flattery would flow. Money would pour. Each one of them could be a potential trap. Remember, in the journey of life, success is only a passing station. Stay focussed on the destination and enjoy the journey. You will miss the train if you get stuck in a passing station. 
No. 3.  Avoid pride after tasting success. Someone said, pride is the sin of comparison. Success is not when you do better than others but it is doing your best. You are a unique person. Look around there is no one like you. The same is the case with every person. Watch out for pride for it comes before the fall! Arrogance is not confidence. Success looks so adorable when it is clothed in humility. Hope you will like that outfit!

Success stays on the sands of time, only till the next wave (or, the next winner). 

Is there a better alternative to success? Yes, it is called significance.  People strive for success. I say, be significant and do something significant. Do you remember the Marathon winner at the 1968 summer Olympics held at Mexico City? No? Don’t worry, not many would, any way. But let me tell you about the man who finished last in that race. John Stephen Akhwari was a marathon runner from Tanzania. Half way through the race Akhwari fell, badly hurt his knee dislocating the joint. Most runners would  have given up. But after a few minutes John Akhwari picked himself up, strapped up his leg and kept running. A little more than an hour after the winner had finished, with just a few thousand spectators left in the stands, into the stadium he came. His leg was bloody and bandaged. But finally he hobbled across the finish and the crowd roared as if he had been the winner. He finished last among the 74 competitors. Later when he was asked why he kept running though he would never succeed and he had every reason to quit. This was his reply – “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 7,000 miles to finish the race." That’s not success, but that’s significance – not just for himself but for the indomitable human spirit!
There are many differences between being successful and being significant. Here are some of those differences:
The successful Vs The significant
In-ward looking                        Out-ward looking
Self-obsessed                              Cause-obsessed
Temporary                               Permanent
Makes you competitive             Makes you complete
Relative term                            Absolute term
Significance, very often is accompanied by a by-product called success. It is a smart thing not to be so obsessed with a by-product and instead focus on the main thing. I wish you significance – in all you do.


  1. Good work; Thanks 4 sharing and Inspiring us..!

  2. yes sir it is too much inspiring


  4. Even i agreed. But success is not a destiny its a journey.In this journey sometime we succeed or failed. This journey goes on and it is just like an exercise to improve your skills

  5. Hi Rahul,
    Thanks for your response. I have a problem in considering success as a journey. Journey becomes meaningless without a destination (in this case, goals). Its the attainment of goals that characterize success. The nature of goals can easily shift our focus from striving for success to striving for significance.