Sunday, September 17, 2023

No desire for success?

To not desire success is not merely rare, it is close to impossible. More often than not, when you see someone who seems immune to the lure of success, what you see is only someone whose idea of success is different from the conventional idea of success (Like, you know, teaching the slum children in his area rather than setting up a Byjus; like climbing mountains instead of a corporate ladder). To have NO idea of what constitutes success for you in the future AND, thus, to not chase anything in life is given only to the self-realized Saint (who has ALREADY succeeded in getting where he wanted to get) OR those who think no more of life than to eat and sleep it away. (AND even THEY will have an idea of success IF they had to strive to get enough to eat!)

Yet, Tiru defines some people as not desiring success who fall into neither of these categories.

Aranaakkam vendaadhaan enbaan piranaakkam penaadhu azhukkaruppaan - Tirukkural

He who envies rather than rejoicing in others' success is to be seen as someone who neither desires virtue nor success - Loose translation.

Tiru, therefore, says that anyone who truly desires success in any field will be rejoicing in the success of others in his field and not envying them.

I think you need to really understand what Tiru thinks is 'desire' before you can understand what he is saying here. Like, yeah, I mean you'd like to be the next Shahrukh Khan and the only thing that is stopping you from becoming one is the fact that nobody has, as yet, come to your doorstep with superstardom on a platter. Desire of THAT sort everyone has. I mean, even Mungerilal had his haseen sapne where he dreamt of becoming the next Adani.

But Tiru is a very finicky guy. When he calls something 'desire for success', it is not merely this fleeting fancy for all the good things - wealth, fame, whatever - that will come out of achieving success; It is a desire to BECOME the sort of person who will say and do the things that are needed for that success to come your way. In other words, he calls it desire for success ONLY if you are willing to put in the hard yards in order to pursue success AND not merely drool about the pleasurable life AFTER you achieve that success.

In that context, it makes sense that if you keep looking at others' success with envy, you're unlikely to be actually putting in the effort in honing your own ability and skills to achieve success. To the man who is actually working to succeed, other people's success is an inspiration as well as a lesson in how to succeed. To the man who merely toys with the idea of success, anyone else who has succeeded is an obstacle to his own success. I mean, if you feel that YOU control the metrics of your success by how you act, you learn from others; if you think success is handed over in a sort of lottery, THEN someone else getting it seems like your being deprived of it by them. THEN all you feel is only envy.

If you have ever heard words of envy, you'll always hear the seeds of failure in them. "Of course, he will succeed! He is the MD's relative after all." There! You have already decided that since you are not related to anyone important, you are never going to succeed. OR "People like him find a way to suck up to the bosses and climb the ladder. Us straightforward people..." You as good as say that you will NEVER succeed. If you decide that you can never become the sort of person who succeeds, then can you really claim to desire success? You are unlikely to even try to do what is in your control.

It is not that the world is fair; that none of that nepotism OR flattery works. Of course, they do. But if you truly desire success, you'll not waste time in envy. You'll seek to see whether what you CAN do will also get you success. OR change your place of work to where you can still pursue success.

OR, perhaps, you can reset your idea of success to achieve excellence in the number of people you can actively envy!