How would you define success?

A few months back, a few college friends and I got together. It was a catch-up long overdue, thanks to the pandemic. Among several other things, we talked about what we believed success was? That's a weighty question. 

They asked me what success was to me?

"Being happy", I said. I guess the answer was quite a let down for the guy who asked me the question. 

Being happy is quite a vague thing. They probably expected something more definite like "being able to retire and not having to work any more" or in my context, "grow the company to x centres" and so on. i disappointed them with a mere "Being happy!"

In my defence, I truly believe that to be definition of success. A few years back, I wrote on this blog about Money, Power or Fame being the three things that people usually crave. I would say these are measures of materialistic success.

There would be people who do not have much of these three but are still successful. I would put spiritual seekers in this category. I am not going to name any but there are several such people who are spiritually successful but may be devoid of money, power and fame.

The trouble with materialistic success is it is often short-lived. Once you achieve a certain amount of money, power or fame, you start craving more. Nothing is ever enough. I am guessing spiritual success may be better in this respect. I do not know for sure.

Contentment is one value that can serve to temper the craving. It is obviously, very difficult to cultivate.

Which brings me to bliss. Bliss is difficult to describe in words but it is being happy and peaceful at the same time. I have come to believe over the years that success is to be able to stay blissful most of the time. It is being happy without craving more. The 'peace' part is just as important as the 'happy' part.

I find myself having this feeling sometimes during my twice-daily ten-minute meditation sessions. Alas, it does not quite last beyond that. However, meditation is not the only way to experience it. There are many ways.

How you get there is immaterial. As long as you get there.


Unknown said…
For your friends your answer was vague but i understand completely. For me success is ' being myself ' Doing what I like and doing it for myself simple as that ☺️
Usha balu.
Ram G said…
That is very good explanation Kamal. I think everyone has a different opinion of what success is. Here is mine: It is the feeling of accomplishing something for the first time.

Material things do make you feel successful such as getting your first job, earning your first million, reaching x number of centers if that was your goal you were trying to reach for a long time. But the feeling won't last for a long time after reaching that goal.

You feel more accomplished/successful and for longer for non-materialistic goals. Could be a baby standing up for the first time, someone running their first mile, finishing college, having the first child who have tried for years to conceive. (I would also add: Getting your child potty trained!). Found something that you have been searching for years. Making peace with things you can't change. Finally making peace with yourself.

Some people feel successful on the smallest things and some people need to reach really high goals… but that’s a topic for another blog! 😊

Good to read your blog after a long time! Keep up all the good work you are doing!
Ram G said…
You may add: Helping x number of people with their needs at your centers for free.. that'll last for a very long time.
Kamal D Shah said…
Thanks Ramakant! Good to see you here. Agree with your thoughts.