How do you define success in life ?

Success in life could mean different things to different people and that is absolutely fine. It is like beauty could be defined differently by everyone based on their own perceptions in life. While some of us may think that creating wealth is success, there could be others who define success as helping as many people in their lives.

Each one of us look at the world through our own lenses and define success in our own ways. In my view, an individual has a right to define or redefine success the way they want to as long as they do not decry the definition of success by others.

The word success is defined by us based on our own life experiences and perceptions of the world. We are born in a family which is the basic social unit of society. Our family moulds us in a particular way and we form our idea of success.

Then as we grow up, go to school and college, our teachers help us in refining our concept of success. This further gets reimagined when we enter our career as a professional or an entrepreneur. Our journey in life adds to this definition and we keep re-inventing ourselves as we grow up.

Our friends and colleagues also influence our thoughts, deeds and actions. Certain life events impact our world view and we keep reflecting on “ what success and happiness means to us in life ?”

As I said earlier, there can be no right or wrong answers to this fundamental question of life. Each of us have a right to look at it the way we want to and keep changing our definition as we experience life over the years.

The only caution could be that we should not look at others from our world view of success. A sportsperson may look at an Olympic medal as their ultimate success in life. A career professional may want become a CEO. On the other hand, a social worker may be interested in saving human lives in every possible way.

We cannot say one is more successful than the other. If we look at so many ordinary women and men, who have been conferred with national and international awards, we realise that success can and will mean different things to different people.

I would go one step further. Let us define and redefine success with every learning in our lives. It is evolutionary and has to be so. There can never be a beginning or an end to success. It is like excellence. Success is a moving target in life and it can best be defined by the individual only. The moment others try to define success for an individual, it becomes redundant for that individual.

Let us learn to experience life in our own way and define success the way we want to see the world. It is like some people may like to see the sun rise, while some others may enjoy the sun set. Neither of this group is right or wrong.

If you do not like to see sun rise or sun set but want to enjoy only the moon, it is your choice and you have the absolute right to ignore the sun and only watch the moon. Success is indeed ephemeral and it is up to us to make it tangible the way we would want it to be.

As in the photo above, success could mean “capturing the right moment” for a professional photographer.

We need to learn to live life in absolute and not in relativity. As long we want to compete with everyone around us and live life vying with others, success will always elude us.

Let us evolve success in life our own way on every single day in our lives.

S Ramesh Shankar

9th August 2022

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