Posted by: DD | March 24, 2008

Success – Redefined

Success, what does the word mean to you? Is it something tangible, something concrete? Or is it something in-tangible, something which is subjective?


This question started troubling my mind when I was reading an article few days back and today it haunted me again while talking to a friend. I had never imagined that defining success could be this difficult while I made futile attempts to understand its meaning. I came up with quite a few answers, each as absurd and un-descriptive as the other.


Initially I tried phrasing success in social parlance. Success is a socially accepted form of recognition. You are successful if you are socially famous. But a bit more of digging into the concept made it clear that this is a consequence of success, not its cause or success itself. One is famous because he is successful. Not the other way round.


Next attempt was at defining success on the relative grounds, though not much different than social relation mentioned above. One is successful if he is more socially acceptable than someone who is an identified success. Its like comparing one’s success to another’s whose success has been a benchmark. Here we define success in recursive terms i.e. success defined in terms of success. It’s this school of thought which gives birth to the terms like “moderately successful” and “highly successful”. It’s like associating relative degree with success. Though most common placed mode to define success, it somehow lacks the depth to quantify success in individualistic sense.



Another way to look at success is in terms of money. A person is as successful as the strength of his bank balance. After all, isn’t money one of the most important barometers to measure social strength? But then how do you categorize people like Mother Teresa. She didn’t have a hefty bank-balance but I am sure anyone can question her success.


So if it’s not social recognition, no relative measurement and not even money, then what exactly defines success?


After a bit of introspection and reasoning with myself, my mind felt satisfied with a very simple description of success. In my life, following formula aptly defines success.


Success = Happiness


In very simplistic language, a person is successful if he is happy. If he is content with what he has achieved and satisfied with how his life has shaped, he is successful.


But this simple equation has a complex set of variables involved. The happiness for every person has different dimensions. His happiness is usually a function of his own happiness, happiness of his near and dear ones, his aspiration from life, his work-life balance, etc. Hence striking the perfect balance becomes quite necessary and important. I guess that’s what makes being successful a difficult goal to achieve.


The theory of happiness is no different from the theory of equations. As stated above, happiness is an ever changing equation with many variables and like an equation in mathematical terms, it also has its roots of which some are real and some are imaginary. We can think of real roots as the moments of joy in our life and imaginary roots as the mistakes made and pain received. As with the mathematical equations, it’s the real roots that matter, the imaginary roots are best minimized.

Hence, a person should always strive to work towards improving his life in such a way that the degree of this equation changes to suit his needs and generate more of real roots and less of imaginary ones. It’s only through a sincere effort that a person is able to alter the equation in discussion and that’s the reason why perseverance and hard work have always been the key to success as they are the forces which change the equation of happiness to generate more real roots.


Any talk of success is in-complete without the mention of failure. Like success, failure too suffers from various interpretations at different levels of human existence. But for me, not able to do something and not able to get expected results is not failure. I term them as just mistakes. It’s the point when we stop learning from our mistakes and stop working towards our goal is what defines failure. In fact, learning from ones mistakes is another very important variable in the equation of happiness and its correct value is needed to get the real roots.


Success is a very subjective term for which each individual has its own definition. Its quantification in a general sense is impossible because of which every person tries to arrive at its own definition of success and failure. It’s same as discovering ones own truth through ones own set of beliefs and values.


Hence, I feel it’s important for us to realize where our happiness lies and work with sincere effort to achieve the same. It’s with this happiness that we’ll find our success.


!! Stay Happy – Be Successful !!






  1. Success come in many shapes and sizes, but when someone understands their deepest self they can access happiness from every angle.

  2. Hmmm..
    thats all I can gather myself to say to this.
    There isnt a speck of doubt left that u write excellently so the usual praises showered…
    but I dunno Y m I feeling like this is off beat and incomplete..
    this happens to be my perception of this reading but i certainly cant relate this to your way of writing….
    But the one thing that is striking out in this is your maturity towards life, which i know is commendable

  3. k…… phew.. finally got time for it 😉
    Success is a hypothetical concept frankly saying.
    I mean only difference between a genius & an insane is success!!
    Insane thought abt it & got crazy & Genius just carried on with whatever he wanted to.

    I must say it’s pretty well documented & i can see why it’s an offbeat topic for u mate as success & happiness both needs to be felt from within & not seen as I stated earlier that it’s hypothetical.

    Still a good attempt to complete ur writing on the topic 🙂
    I shall continue reading ur other work too 🙂

    Bravo mate !!! Carry on with the good work 🙂

  4. @Karl
    i feel in total coherence to your views. You need to understand yourself. Only then can you be happy.
    Thanks for chipping in.

    Off beat? incomplete? May be, may be not. As I always say, i leave it to readers judgement 🙂
    Thanks for that comment

    Dude, thanks to you too for the praises.

  5. Very well analysed. I totally accept with your view.
    Good one.

    Keep the good work goin on

  6. each individual’s success is subjected to his own satisfaction level/hapiness…no one can else can define other’s success…….thank u sir for reminding me this old and important fact about life…cheer’s!!!
    lol I was so engrossed in framing the above few sentences that i forgot to put my id yet again…bear it sir 😉 ..

  7. @vinod

    no probs dude, as far as you continue pouring your comments, I don’t mind you forgetting your name 😀
    thanks once again !!

  8. superb write up!!
    simplicity at its best..
    reflecting deepest of thoughts so easily is just wonderful!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: