Success is Useless

Yeah, you read it right ! 

At least that’s what I believe.

But before putting forward my arguments and letting you decide whether it holds water or not, I would put a disclaimer – making this statement is not sour grapes for me – I have had my share of successes  and failures in life and this statement is not a manifestation of my personal emotions or grudge. It is a conclusion based on careful and deep introspection, and not simply a desultory comment.

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Having said that, now there must be a tinkling in your mind – how can success be useless? After all, our entire life is spent in making efforts to lead a successful life – and hence a happy one. Every soul on this planet craves for success not only in professional life, but also in personal relationships, new ventures, family life etc.  It is on what our life is based – and here comes some random blogger who is questioning the foundation of your life ! Well, success is equally important for that random blogger. She also wants to be a successful blogger, a successful family person and a successful professional.

So how is it useless if it is important?

I never doubted the importance of success – but the utility of it – and there is a difference – a big difference. Because from where I see, I see success only as the food for life and not the food for soul. Success repays your hard work, gives you moments of happiness and revelry, satisfies your ego and enhances you self-respect. 

What lesson does it give you? How does it influence your mind, your nature, your personality – in most cases it either makes you complacent or haughty, or just languid ! In other cases, we become increasingly insecure of losing it. After achieving success in one arena, you move on to the other. I don’t  remember sitting down to retrospect on what I had learnt or what more I could learn in a field, how can I improve and so on whenever I succeeded in anything. I simply moved on to the next level – which is necessary because you got to keep moving ahead,always. But apart from that, what did one truly learn about life?  

Very little, or nada.

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On the other hand, when you fail, you learn what does not work – it gives you knowledge and wisdom. It gives you an opportunity to prove to others and to yourself how strong you are and how quickly you can get back in action after every fall. Whenever someone falls, he has to pick his pieces up and get back up on his own.  Every failure you face in life adds to your courage and inner strength – leaving you more bold than you previously were. It teaches you to be optimistic because believe me – no matter how much pessimism a person has, everybody wants to and does see the light at the end of every dark tunnel. It is just a matter of time – how early one gets over one’s doubts and incertitude. With every failure, that time period decreases – and you tend to get back faster into the game with revived energy and enthusiasm ! Failure teaches you a good sense of humor too–how to laugh the predicament  off and start afresh.

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The problem with failure is that it is always projected in bad light. Right from  childhood, we are taught to embrace success and cast aside failure. And that’s why when I projected success in a bad light – it must have been shocking for many.

Failure is not bad. It is not synonymous with darkness or evil.

In fact, it teaches about life more than success does. Failure is not something to be afraid of ; it does not eat you ; it does not leave you crumpled– but every time it comes, it gives a piece of itself to you – in the form of courage or optimism or sense of humor.

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As Sundar Pichai , CEO, Google rightly said “In Silicon Valley, part of the reason why so many people start companies is because even if you fail, it is a badge of honour.

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Failure does not and should not leave us with depressing thoughts and doubts on our capability. As proudly as we proclaim our success, we should equally embrace our failure. Because when the candle  of  our life will be on the verge of dying down, we will realize while going down the memory lane  that failure was always on our side. We were never fighting it, we were fighting WITH it – to achieve success.

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Parents, you are wrong when ………

Parents are the angels we have on Earth who take care of us, when God is too busy maintaining balance and peace in the world. This position of theirs earns respect and gratitude of the child. Believe me when I say that every child feels (and should feel) indebted to his parents, for giving him life and more importantly for making it worth living, at some or all times throughout his existence on Earth. Parents are like the anchor of our boat, keeping us afloat in this gigantic ocean of worldly drifts and waves.be-affectionate

But does that mean they cannot do anything wrong? No, it does not.

Parents are wrong when they lay too much pressure on their child to excel in the ongoing rat race to prove one’s worth in this materialistic world. I am not generalizing here. I know there are many parents who support their child through thick and thin. And if you are one of them, I salute you!

But then, I also know about parents for whom boasting about their child’s success and achievement is so important to maintain their ‘status’ in the society, that in the process of creating a success story, they often lead to tales of broken dreams. They want to produce geniuses. And in this era of cut throat competition, they want their child to go to a reputed college, earn a hefty salary and marry a partner of their choice. Looks extremely well planned, isn’t it ? But I tend to disagree. Between all the meticulous contemplation and planning about a child’s future, where have they taken into account their child’s dreams and aspirations? Parents might put forth an argument that they have seen the world and they are experienced enough to judge what is good for their child and what is bad. I totally agree. 2015-02-12-13-02-59.shattered dreamBut how is crushing of a child’s dreams would do any good to him. I know ‘crushing’ is a harsh word to use in this context but I don’t intend to use euphemism when I want to express my views clearly and without any softening or exaggeration. In certain situations, parents might not even know that they are ‘crushing’ their child’s dream. Ignoring it and asking him to blindly follow the rat in the race cannot absolve them of the fact that they are killing the seed inside him which can give birth to a tree in future. Or even if it is not a tree, even if it is just a sapling – yet a sapling is better than a dead and a wasted seed.428c516b7a78d17d0abc6a7fbd726081

A child is already indebted to his parents. He always wants to give them all the happiness of the world and make them feel proud. But does that mean he has to do everything that his parents’ desire irrespective of what he truly yearns for- ignoring his own dreams? After all, parents want them to be happy, right! What if he is happy doing his own little thing rather than walking the trodden path? Parents want best for their child but what if their perception of best for him isn’t aligned with his happiness? What if he is happy following his risky and uncertain field of interest and not the conventional and certain area of employment?

What if his heart is full when his pockets are not? What if his eyes shine and not his resume?

What if a distant relative or an insensitive neighbor doesn’t approve of your child’s ‘unusual success story’. It will still be a success story for him.

What if your child scores less than what you expected – what if he is not the topper but your neighbor’s kid is ? Should that mean he does not deserve to be your kid or you should pay less attention on him and concentrate more on your younger kid who excels in his education? Should that mean he isn’t a man of good character – worthy of every happiness and love?

You might feel by now that I am too rude or too insensitive and cynical about parent’s emotions and intentions. Or I am a rebellious child myself trying to let off the steam by pouring my frustration out into words. Believe me, I am not. What I am doing here is sharing my experience, not as a victim, but as a witness of the sufferings of an oppressed child who is so low on confidence today because of his/her failure to prove his worth to his/her parents. Let’s call him/her X. X considers himself a loser because he is not able to satisfy his parents’ ever-growing expectations. He has achieved a lot in his life, but not enough to achieve his parent’s satisfaction.

00221917e13e0f4d267d1aDo you approve of this? Should parents burden their child with so many expectations that a child spends his entire life trying to prove his worth?

Why are studies and grades a metric to judge whether a child is a good child or not? Why is a resume a standard to declare a child successful and not his character or nature? Why a child is always marked on his intellectual abilities rather than humane feelings and demeanor?

This culture is so deeply rooted in our society that I fear children losing the courage to confront their parents with their dreams. And therefore, parents need to understand and the younger generation needs to learn.

I am never going to let my child feel what X felt.

I will water the seed inside my little kid’s heart and will watch it grow. Whether it grows into a big, lush tree or a tiny sapling – future will tell – neither do I care because I will be busy looking at the smile on my kid’s face !

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P.S – My idea is not to offend parents in general or doubt their sincere intentions for their kids, neither I am painting parents as dream-killers. I just want to give every parent a chance to reconsider their parenting – to make sure they do not fall into the category of dream-killers.

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