Let us first define what success is all about before we set out to pursue it

Dubai - Isn’t it crucial to know which direction to set our compasses in order to accomplish what we have set out to achieve?

By Asha Iyer Kumar

Published: Sun 26 Sep 2021, 9:22 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Sep 2021, 9:34 PM

As soon as I finished writing my previous column on ducking brickbats as a critical factor to be successful in life, it occurred to me that the suggestions given therein would render useless if one did not have a clear-cut definition of success itself.

Presuming that we have effectively shrugged off criticisms and are fully psyched up to march ahead, isn’t it crucial to know which direction to set our compasses in order to accomplish what we have set out to achieve? What, to all intents and purposes, would make us feel that we have finally made it?

An attempt to interpret success might seem redundant and repetitive given how fixated we are with ‘making it big’, but the truth is, there are things we assume we know and things we actually know. Success is one such enigma that we do not fully comprehend yet spend all our time chasing. It has such broad connotations and is so multifarious in scope that we are often led astray in its quest. At the end of our long battles and tiresome engagements with life, we lose sense of where we have ended up and what we have accomplished after all.

Which makes me think why milestones often lose their sheen soon after we have crossed them. Why does the finishing point seem like a mirage? When will life feel consummated?

Our biggest hurdle to finding fulfilment in life is the fact that we have not tried to see it through our eyes. We have given others the right to evaluate us and constantly seek their validation to establish ourselves. We try to destroy our doubts through their perception, all of which in effect means handing over the keys of our success to someone who has not made any valuable contribution towards it.

Have you noticed how we often tend to measure ourselves up against others and feel threatened by their glory and growth? The emergence of social media has only heightened this tendency of looking at others and feeling inadequate with ourselves. It is time we stopped stacking ourselves up against someone else. It is time we began to give credit to our efforts and kept doing what falls to our lot. Our pride lies in our labour, and we shall receive what we deserve in return for our persistence. We sow the seeds, and we reap the results; why then do we place our bets on other people for it?

In my mental meanderings about life truths, I have often wondered in which order one must place the five common goals in life — fame, respect, wealth, health, and peace of mind. One may add other variables to the list, but the above-mentioned items may be considered the primary motivations for us to stay alive. Which one of the following will be my major driving force in life? To be on the covers of Forbes and Time, to be a homeowner in Beverly Hills, to be decorated with citations, to be able to cruise into old age without aches and ailments or to have a good night’s sleep without anxieties of myriad kinds? What will make me feel successful at the end of my stint on earth? I haven’t had to strain much to know, and I am certain you won’t find it hard to decide either.

We must all devise our own ways to arrive at the answer to what constitutes success to us. From business goals and other personal victories, our definition of it will be based on what we value the most — materially, emotionally and spiritually. Periodical assessments of our value system will reveal our real motives in life, which in turn will lead us to self-fulfilment, which ultimately is what success is all about. They may be different to different people, and it is up to each of us to decide what we must accomplish and what we must relinquish to make it, for there are trade-offs in every deal.

Success is not something to be achieved on a later date; it is something to be realised in every stride of life. Having misplaced notions about it is what makes it so elusive, and attaining it, so daunting. It is when we see it through our own personalised prisms of happiness that we make our lives truly worthwhile, even when we are not on the cover of Forbes or walking the red carpet. We prevail with each step we take and in every mile we walk.

Asha Iyer Kumar is a Dubai-based author, children’s life-writing coach, youth motivational speaker and founder of iBloom, FZE. She can be reached at ibloom@ashaiyerkumar.com

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