Updated: Apr 26
By Sparkian Dr. Gazal Chetan Bansal
Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds
What is Success?
It’s a very common question but with very different answers because success varies from individual to individual. Success has completely different connotations and meanings for each and everybody. When I thought about writing this article, many questions came to my mind: “Am I successful enough to write on success? What have I achieved that can be termed as success? Should I write plainly on success? Should I give simple Gyan on the success the way many others do?” So, I delved into deep thoughts about it.
Deliberating on this topic made me dwell on myself and on the different areas of my life. For me, where does success lie? I have not found any answer yet, as I feel that I have a long way to go and cross many miles. Few questions came to my mind on success, these are:
Is success an illusion?
Is success a delusion? or
Is success a conclusion?
The answers to these questions are not easy to decipher as success is very individualistic. A thought flashed into my mind that success is a relative term, and everybody conceives, perceives, and achieves success according to one’s belief. For some success is achieving great academic heights, for some, it is about scoring high grades. For some it is excelling in sports, for some, it is getting a lucrative high-profile job. For some, it is securing a big bank balance to have a secure financial future, and for some, it is enriching and rewarding entrepreneurship.
But then a question rose, ‘Is success classified only in terms of materialism, professionalism, finances or academic growth?’
For me, the answer is ‘No’ as I feel success cannot be confined to any of the above-mentioned parameters and there are zillions of examples worldwide which prove that despite huge success in scientific and technological advancement, our life is still miserable. There are increasing cases of suicides, cardiac arrests, severe tension bouts, and chronic ailments. We cannot define success solely in materialistic dimensions. Success is beyond materialistic pursuits. Indeed, money is very important in our lives as it is the fuel required to run our dream machines but certainly, it is not the only criterion for being successful in life.
So, what is success?
All of us are looking for an answer to this perplexing question but still have not arrived at a common answer. Life is a mesmerizing journey and a roller coaster ride too. It is full of experiments, deep self-realizations, and revelations. We all live different lives and face different circumstances. We have different destinies and different destinations.
Life is a big challenge. It makes us or breaks us. But all depends on us, how we take life and face these challenges. I realized the same when I went through different roles and respective experiences in my life.
As women, we play multifarious roles in our lives, each teaching us a different lesson every time. Some lessons are easy to imbibe, and some are learned the hard way. But every lesson teaches you something and casts an influence on you; either good or bad.
What I feel is that the
Ability to learn positive lessons from negative quarters of life,
Ability to emanate positive light from the dark hours of life and,
Ability to give from the scarce resources,
can be regarded as the definition of success.
What I strongly feel is that success lies in having:
an abundant mindset when dealing with scarcity,
feeling blessed when faced with adversity,
being optimistic when facing dejection and rejections,
promising prosperity to self when facing crises and critical conditions in life and the ability to bounce back when the whole world has given up on you.
There are many success stories around us of people who have shown a path to the world that passion, when followed through heart and soul, does yield huge success. Be it Swami Vivekananda, Aryabhata, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Subhash Chandra Bose, Dr. S. Radha Krishnan, Dr. C.V. Raman, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Mother Teresa, J. C. Bose, R. K. Narayan, Dhirubhai Ambani, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Dr. Amratya Sen, Sh. Narendra Modi, Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Madhubala, Shah Rukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, M.S. Dhoni, Mary Kom, P.T. Usha, Milkha Singh, Dhyan Chand, Prakash Padukone, Vishwanathan Anand, Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, A.R. Rehman, Baichung Bhutia, Zakir Hussain, Pandit Birju Maharaj, M.S. Subalakshami, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, J.R.D. Tata, M.F. Hussain, Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sento list a few.
These are people who have lived their dreams and inspired not only millions on the national front but have also mesmerized zillions globally. What is their secret success formula? If we go through their life journeys and their success recipes, what is profound is their hard work, dedication, devotion and determination, and the undying and undeterred spirit of never giving up despite all odds and obstacles.
Then another question came into my mind which was ‘Despite all the power, name, fame and money, is a person happy?’ If the answer to this is ‘no’, then can we call that person successful?
Then, what is success?
That’s when I finally realized that happy minds are successful minds. Whatever we do, wherever we go, if we are not happy, we are not successful. This is my strong realisation that success comes from within, it is not something outside.
I could relate it to many instances in my life also. When you do something that you love to do and when you start loving what you do, the meaning of success changes in your life. You are out of the mad rush and the mindless rat-race of a bogus lifestyle.
When your passion follows the purpose of your life, and
When your heart follows the dreams of your life, and
When your mind follows the inner voice of your life,
It is a success!!!
When I look into my life’s journey, I reflect on many instances. As a child, I was the most pampered and loved one. My parents doted on me and I am the apple of their eyes even now. Whatever I asked for and desired for, my parents provided me that. I had the most blessed and happiest childhood. For me, it is a great success as I have no grudges and regrets from my childhood. I was reasonably good at academics and finally, in my post-graduation, I had topped the university. For me, that is a success because I gave that happiness to my parents for which they yearned. My marks or degree or academic accolades were not the reason for that success but the smile and contentment of my parents was a success for me.
I moved on to the next journey of my life and that was marriage and motherhood. I married a stranger, chosen by my father. Though I was a little reluctant in the beginning to marry him, my father persuaded me. Yes, I knew quite well that my father always wanted the best for me, so I agreed. My husband and I are poles apart when it comes to basic nature, habits, likes, and dislikes. I am a total extrovert and he is an absolute introvert. The initial years of my marriage were very challenging but both of us sailed through it. He always supported me in all my decisions and gave me the freedom to choose. What else does one need! Marriage, be it arranged or love, must be imbued with love, freedom, and harmony. The success here is the journey from strangers to soulmates…
Then my children came into my life. They are God’s best blessings. Today I am blessed with two beautiful children. If I look back at my life, despite all the challenges and struggles, I am blessed with beautiful relations. It is a success for me when you live and grow together with absolute love and common goals despite all the basic differences.
Success lies in living life freely with loved ones, and real success lies in building and maintaining those relationships with love and empathy!!!
The thing that comes next is the passion you want to pursue in your life and the professional career you want to follow. Living in those times when salary is the only criteria for judging professional success, takes a toll on us. Being a doctorate does not guarantee success, but being an earner does. That was my biggest realization. I couldn’t pursue my teaching career because of motherhood. And when my children grew up enough to be taken care of without me being present, I started my entrepreneurial journey. The journey from a homemaker to an entrepreneur has been the most exciting and challenging one, and this journey resembles exactly the journey of a forlorn traveler carrying a pot of gold, looking for a hidden oasis in a deep desert, without realizing that the real oasis lies within not outside.
I experienced the same and then realized that to be successful in any business endeavour, one must focus on building lives and relations and then the business. Businesses are not born out of compulsion. The idea to begin a business germinates because of compassion and confidence. Beginnings are difficult but the aim to achieve your dreams and goals makes it happen. Venturing into an altogether different world with ever-changing dynamics was not an easy task but the intent to grow both personally as well as financially along with other like-minded people was strong enough to overcome all fears. It then reminded me of the following shlokas from Bhagwad Geeta.
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥
Meaning: You are entitled to do your duty and action, but never to the results of your actions. Let not the results be your motivation, and do not be attached to laziness and inaction.
मुक्तसंगोहमवादे ए धृत्युत्साहसमन्वितः ।
सिद्धयासिद्धयोरनिर्विकारः करता सात्विक उच्चयते ।।
Meaning: The person or mind who is free from attachment, who is not egoistic, who cannot be shaken by success or failure, who is highly enthusiastic, who is full of required skills and knowledge has a satvik mind. When success or failure does not affect one, then that mind or person is said to be truly human and satvik in nature.
This is the success formula of the universe!!!
So, learn and practice the skills required for your job or work and devote yourself with love, enthusiasm, and have no doubts of failure. Remember for 100% success in your life, to earn material wealth and peace of mind, you need to have love in your heart, the right skills in your hand, and a rock-like determination in your mind. At the same time, for 100% peace, work without expectations of success or failure and work with love, and with enthusiasm!
After going through these wonderful stotras from the Geeta, I learned profound lessons in life:
Success is living a happier and healthier life.
Success is when one believes in oneself when no one else is ready to believe and support.
Success is living and loving life on one’s own terms without hurting the emotions and feelings of others.
Success is giving happiness and joy to others without expecting anything in return.
Success is helping others without expecting returns and rewards in favor.
Success lies in selflessness and the ability to sacrifice without guilt and regrets.
Success is making others laugh despite challenges and problems in life.
Success is proving your worth to yourself and not to others.
Success lies in being brave in the face of disease, misery, and failure.
Success is an attitude, mindset and lifestyle. Success is not about complaining, competing, and convincing.
For me as a woman, Mother Teresa is a success as she gave shelter and love to many homeless children without any selfish motive, but a very noble purpose in life. For me, Sushmita Sen is a success. She not only charmed the whole world with her beauty and intellect but has also single-handedly adopted and is raising two beautiful daughters. She has rightly proved that a single mother can definitely be a success story if her intent and integrity is strong. For me, P.T. Usha, Mary Kom, and Hima Das are a great success. They are not only world-class athletes but profound nationalists also. A great tribute to these women for making the whole nation proud and setting great examples for others to follow.
With all gratitude and humility to the Almighty for blessing me with great abundance, peace, and prosperity, Thus, I have been able to coin my own definition of success through my life’s learnings and realizations as follows:
S: Steadfast in truth and honesty
U: Unambiguity in the thought process
C: Clear conscience and pure intentions
C: Compassionate and courageous
E: Empathetic and energetic
S: Spiritually strong and ethically profound
S: Selfless servitude; service to mankind is service to god
With this, I would like to conclude my article and heartfelt gratitude to all those who took their time out to read this write-up of mine.
About Dr. Gazal Chetan Bansal
Dr. Gazal Goyal Bansal, Ph.D. is a Doctorate in Political Science, UGC (JRF), a Gold Medalist, A Certified ISO 22000 Lead Auditor, a Licensed Practitioner of NLP from The Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming & a Pranic Healer. She is the founder of Conscience Connect, a Life Coach and Speaker.
She is a radical enthusiast and a firm believer in the philosophy of conceptual pragmatism, logical reasoning, and the spiritual energy matrix. A staunch believer of the fact that before you speak, your energy speaks. A spiritual evangelist and a practical thinker.