Success –How do most people perceive it? The commonest of all methods is to know a person’s earnings and social status. But a person’s/family’s standing, high up in the social hierarchy, may be regarded as an affluent family /person, not a successful one. Success, in its literal sense, means an event that accomplishes its intended purpose. So, does getting a high paying job or cracking a tough exam or getting voted for an election etc. a success? If a doctor’s son becomes a doctor, not out of will but to continue the legacy of his/her family, does it define him/her as a successful person or is it the burden of failure that he has just managed to avoid.
Does being in the best job means being successful?
Civil service/public service examinations are often considered to be one of the toughest exams in the country and aspiring to be a civil/public servant requires a lot of determination and perseverance. But what are the odds of cracking it and making it into the final merit list? I will say around 25%. So, what happens to the rest 75% who, despite shedding their sweat and tears and burning their midnight oil, still are knocked out of this competitive race? Do we label them as the unsuccessful ones or pat their back for at least trying their best to be the best. Well, our society is too busy in applauding the meritorious than looking out for the left-outs which is the ultimate fall of our social as well as mental well-being leading to self-isolation and creating a sense of FEAR which not only discourages an aspirant in his future endeavours but also causes a strong feeling of discontentment forever.
FAILURE VS. FEAR OF FAILURE. Which is stronger?
We often define success in relative terms. We, as a society, set a comparative scale and rate others as well as ourselves on it. For ex – If a child is scoring 45% while his friend scores 75% in exams instead of accepting, applauding and boosting the confidence of an average child, we use dramatic means to create a latent pressure on the young people, right from an early age often labelling them as failures. This pressure slowly and steadily transforms into fear; the fear of failure than the aspiration of success. The fear not to be behind others than marching ahead. The fear to keep running in the race of expectations than to sit down and introspect one’s inner self and one’s own likes and dislikes. This fear sometimes becomes so powerful that it suppresses all other emotions – self-content, admiration, acceptance, respect, self-confidence, courage and most of all the knowledge of one’ own self, leaving behind a hollow and an empty soul devoid of all dreams and ambitions. Rather than knowing about one’s own desires, the burden of expectations from the society often leads to disastrous effects such as depression, peer pressure, loneliness and even suicides. As Charles Darwin had put it right in his Evolution Theory that “Survival of the fittest” is the law of the society, I suppose the modern-day connotation for it has taken the shape of social validation, forbidding the importance of individual choices especially in choosing careers. And so, instead of cultivating the courage of taking risks in life, we tend to settle down with a secure job. This is what I consider our biggest failure- the fear of facing failure before we even try.
When I entered my B.Tech College, I was already a topper and a studious person, focusing on being what my father always wanted me to be – SUCCCESSFUL. Although I never faced any kind of pressure from my parents sometimes the unspoken words and certain hope in their eyes expected me to be what they want. However, it was in college that I started discovering and exploring myself. My hobbies, interests, personality, communication skills etc. I was still maintaining my good grades and balancing it what I loved rather than just being into the books and it gave me immense pleasure myself. However, after entering the competitive world of Civil service preparation, everything I liked took a backseat and I kept myself focused on just one goal of my life – Cracking UPSC CSE. However, when I didn’t qualify UPSC CSE, I was heartbroken as I had never faced failure in my life before but the phase also taught me the most important lesson of my life – Success is not the key to happiness instead happiness is the key to success.
And life doesn’t stop with one unfulfilled desire, there are infinite doors of happiness and satisfaction if one truly wishes to open them. Especially in this day and age of social media influence, where being satisfied in one’s little home with family, friends and well-wishers is considered as a boring lifestyle but a million views or 500 something likes on Instagram or Facebook is a validation of social acceptance. In my case, I chose to be happy with what I am and have now. As an administrator, I try and put my heart and soul into my work along with reconnecting with myself on a creative front in my free time to grow as an individual. So, we, as humans, need to understand the true meaning of a successful life and more importantly, what suits us as an individual than as a social being.
At the end, my only advice to all the readers will be to value the life and time given you by the almighty and trust your abilities to achieve your goal with joy rather than as fear because happiness is the best form of a successful life.Best wishes,
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