Success: a matter of perception!


Success may be an over rated term in my view. Too often most people are chasing “success” like a dog trying to catch its tail! Frequently it is also like some one trying to stomp on one’s own shadow. It is like waiting for the waves to subside, while sitting in the beach. It never seems accomplished.
Why is this? Our needs and wants are endless, if we let them be that way. But, when one is clear on what is the need, one can set a goal or criteria to measure if and when that need is fulfilled. As and when you achieve that goal, you are a success!
So, don’t look for success, if you have not clarified in your mind, what is your “need” to start with. Somewhere I read that you can make all the money you want, if you have a clear idea on how you want to spend it! In other words, lots of people are rich not because they want a lot of money to spend. Instead they have a need to fulfill, such as accomplish something, prove something can be done and they go after that relentlessly. When they do, in some cases it shows up as lots of money. So the success in this case is not lot money, but a clear objective – a “need” – to be satisfied. Good health, family, friends, accomplishments in a profession, at school, good neighbors, respect in the community, ……… one can go on listing the many dimensions in which we can perceive success, if we choose to look in those directions.
“Wants” on the other hand are different from the needs. Want is like a wish list, while need is something to be accomplished here and now! Very often we don’t see the success, since we are confused between the want and the need. For example, one person wants to be a successful professional, be recognized by his/her peers and colleagues, make good money to put food on the table and have a good family life. Now, this person has all that. The want is: Get the next higher position in the company, which has been eluding him/her for the past few years. Is this person a success or not?
As long as we are consumed by our “wants”, we will never feel ourselves to be a success, no matter how much of all our needs are already met. Yes, one has worked hard and most of the needs have been met. Yet, one could feel miserable chasing that next “want” and hence feel that “I am not a success”.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that you don’t have any goals for tomorrow. Go for it. But, be clear in your mind if it is a need or a want? Need is all that is already met or has to be met soon.
To recognize if your needs are met or not, you need to learn to “smell the roses” on hand. Take stock of what you already have. Be sure you are putting all that you have to use, wisely and smartly. But never stop smelling the roses and feel good about it, because you already have got the rose on hand! Even those who feel most miserable, due to lack of perceived success, have their own rose to smell. Too often we let the rose we have wilt and die, as we chase for the one that may be merely a shadow of the rose in our own hands.
So, I conclude that success is the feeling at heart to enjoy and cherish what we have on hand, while putting the mind to work on the next unfilled need.
Then the questions arise: Why do we not cherish what we already have and feel good about it, while setting our sight on the next goal? Is it our ignorance of our true worth and reality that keeps us unaware of our success? Is it our emotional turmoil that prevents us from realizing our true worth and value? May be we do indeed recognize and acknowledge our success as reflected in our sense of inner joy and contentment?

The ignorance of his/her own self-worth, leads a person to become unstable or unreliable, indiscriminate, unrelenting or obstinate, deceitful, malicious, lazy, dejected and a procrastinator.              B.G: 18.28
The person of turbulent nature who lacks clarity between his/her needs and wants is passionate, desirous of the results or fruits of all actions, driven by greed or excessively desirous of the results, harmful, impure, with extremes of happiness and sorrow.                     B.G: 18.27
The balanced state of mind leads a person to become free or liberated from all attachments. He/she is not self centered, is endowed with steadiness, consistency and enthusiasm and remains equi-poised in the face of success and failure.                   B.G: 18.26

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2 Responses to Success: a matter of perception!

  1. chitra says:

    It is our difficulty in discerning needs from wants. It can vary from person to person. One person’s need is another person’s want.
    Also what i thought was a need at a certain stage in life is now really a want. As the title says it -its our perception. eg: i have a roof over my head -could be satisfied with it but no I “need” a bigger roof!!

    Maslow’s theory on needs progresses from us satisfying our physical needs, need for security, social acceptance and recognition, self esteem and finally self-actualization. Perhaps our fear keeps us stuck in any of the first 4 stages. We think we need more of our wants. we are ignorant of our self -centeredness. Thanks for the BG quote!.

  2. jayanthi says:

    This is December and I am making my wish list. What shall I put on it?
    #1. May I have the ability to smell the roses all my life.

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