What Is Success? – An Essay : My Perspective- By Gaurav Krishnan

A friend of mine, somebody I don’t really know but an interesting person nonetheless posted on facebook with a question “What is success?” I didn’t reply as a comment but sent him a direct message about my thoughts about the definition of success.

What does it mean? What is the essence of success?  In this essay I will present my perspective about what I think success really means. Apart from some examples of success I will highlight what is money? What does it mean to whom? And what we should do in the end to achieve real success.

The Definiton Of Success

Hey, I hope you’re well. This is a slightly long read, but this is basically an answer to your post about “What is success?” I’ve really thought about it. I guess you have to think about a lot of things when it comes to success.

It depends on what you want out of life, mainly. There are lot’s of definitions out there, there are so many quotes for everything, including success that you’ll be lost. According to me, you have to make your own definition of it. Whatever, in life, means the most to you.

Ask these questions –
1. What is your dharma(duty)?
2. What is your purpose?
3. What is your goal out of living on this planet for a brief while?
4. What are your passions?

These answers will determine what you truly want out of living your life.

It can be simple – Whether you want all the people you love to love you in return that’s a very satisfying kind of success. Or to achieve complete peace with yourself and those around you- that’s perhaps another great success.

The Vicious Cycle

I don’t know about America because I have never been there but from movies, shows, music, media etc. It’s almost like they are shoving the same perspective out there to millions of people. You know – It’s your duty to get rich, own things, more houses, cars, clothes. Success has become a buzzword for making money. When really it’s not.

Overcoming your personal struggles and battles and winning – thats another kind of success.

The same consumerism is being shoved down your throat everywhere you go. Image registering ads everywhere, more products, fashion(which I have no clue about) (Honestly I would much rather go to a local tailor and get my clothes made in custom fit for 1/10th of the price) but you get it right – materials basically.

They want you to go on consuming and consuming; gorging on material things so that their pockets get fatter. Its a cycle. People are easy prey. It’s kind of sad in way because money is just a man made, created concept if you think about it. Not the be all and end all in life. Of course it is necessary, the bills have to be paid. But you determine your amount of need for it. It appeals to most but to some it doesn’t. There are more “things” and lesser personal growth and lesser personal success.

People spend atrocious amounts of money owning 6-10 bedroom houses, flashy cars, designer brands, all that nonsense. I mean im not saying it’s bad – if you want that and that’s what you really want then you should pursue it. But don’t do it because that’s the idea people give you or that’s what you’ve seen around you.

About India
Although data says poverty in India is at 30% living below the poverty line I fear it is actually much more. In India, most of the people, the sheer masses of population lack basic things like food, shelter, clothing, there are no unemployment benefits, the government doesn’t support them. I’m not saying that we are a poor country, in fact our country has a very fast growing economy. Yet the income gap is huge and majority of the people are in poverty. You can see it in your own city – The streets are littered with beggars in the day and poor people sleeping on the sidewalks.

Most of the country, except the tier 1 and tier 2 cities where people from all over flock to, live in villages with no electricity, if its there, then there are long power cuts, famines, droughts, and internet is a luxury. In some remote villages they don’t even know what the internet is. Farmers commit suicide so that their family gets 100,000 rupees. By visiting rural areas and meeting rural people you understand that they need money more than we do. They really need it, not for luxury but for basic necessities that we take for granted – food, shelter, clothing for them and their family.

Few Billionaires That I Respect

The few billionaires from America that I do respect are Bill gates and Mark Zuckerberg to name 2 because they are simple people(He sold majority stake in Facebook and wears unbranded simple clothes). They understand that there are people who really need money more than them and are making that difference to their lives through their organizations. They set out to create value with their businesses not make money – it was a by-product.

Helping people who really need help and making that difference – to ease other’s lives that’s a brilliant kind of success.

So What Is Success?
Coming back, it’s anything you want it to be. That’s right Success is anything that you want it to be answering the questions posted in the beginning of this essay. You will find that achieving what you truly want to achieve in your life is being successful. It’s upto you to figure out what it is that you want.

When people open businesses, some want to create value and make a difference while some do it only for the money. Money is only a means to something, it’s nothing but by-product of doing the thing you want to do or the value you want to create and something you love doing the most in life.

Gaining a lot of knowledge and wisdom in a particular area of interest and helping others learn as well is another kind of success – like academics and scholars, nobel laureates, scientists etc.

So success can be anything as long as it resounds with you and your soul. To achieve those goals – whether monetary or not – health, love, happiness, comfort, charity, knowledge ,freedom. Your time is your birthright and you can do anything you want with it. And it isn’t anybody’s business what you do with your time. Working a job is slavery for an inconsequential paycheck according to me, unless of course you enjoy it.

Some people can do without it and become entrepreneurs or do something artistic and create value and meet an existing need. Some lesser fortunate people have no choice but to work odd hours for little money to support themselves and their family. They need it more than you do they might not even have a proper education. Money is needed but you determine the amount and need you want of it. Keep it simple or live luxuriously – it’s all a matter of perception and depends on you.

Work of course work but do something you love, not just for the money!

Chase excellence in something you are passionate about – That is success. Don’t just chase money blindly like a robot off a conveyor belt.

What is wealth?
Real wealth is what you have that nobody can take from you and money is not one those things. Wealth can be knowledge, experience, expertise, talent, skills, attributes anything that is not physical but is a treasure chest within you.

What do I want? 
What do I want – for me success is achieving my goals based on my definition of it  i.e- being able to create something of my own, with my identity and imprint on it – a part of me to leave behind before I die – creating a legacy of sorts through my work that I leave behind. So that I will be remembered even after death. So I have written a book of poems to start and I’m following my passions as well. Poetry is timeless and will live on even after I die. George Russell(1600s) Willaim Blake(1800s) Aldous Huxley(1960s)Jim Morrison(1970s) live on through their poetry and writings.

They have left behind a legacy. So will I, if I am able to and if my work makes sense to people. Maybe I will write a lot of books. Who knows? At least that’s the goal. Maybe I’ll be able to or maybe I won’t but I’ll give it my best shot.

The things that I create in the future – whatever I do choose to create – books, music, film, businesses, whatever, should stand the test of time. I have the time to hone in on what I truly want to do, I’m only 26.

As for money well – I don’t really care that much about it. It’s more about making my mark. I live frugally, with minimal wants, that’s just the way I am. Just enough to get by is good enough I guess.

Apart from this I want knowledge and mastery about many things I am interested in and as I mentioned I want the ones I love to love me back and importantly, find peace within and grow into a proper well grounded empathetic human being. I have already overcome a lot of obstacles and personal hurdles in my life, in that I am a bit successful.

Graves Stay The Same
At the end of the day, all our graves will be only the size of our bodies and we cannot take money with us. But if your family needs money very badly then earn it as your duty to them, if not, then do something that resounds with your soul and for which you will be remembered not just working to increase your bank balance, unless of course that is all you want.

Ask these questions and find the answers –

1. What is your dharma(duty)?
2. What is your purpose?
3. What is your goal out of living on this planet for a brief while?
4. What are your passions?

Success is what you want it be. Achieving anything that resounds with you and your soul. Find your definition of it.

Travel, Climb a mountain, Become famous, Excel in sports, sail a damn boat around the world, get freedom for your country… anything !!

Anything so that you can say, “I wanted to achieve this and I did, hence I am successful.”

Keep questioning things around you and create your own perspectives of the world around you. Find your meaning of success and achieve it. I hope you do.




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