Everybody likes to succeed. Since eons, the tradition has been that the passing generation conditions the upcoming with their definition of success. Very often, I find that people are trying to succeed based on someone else’s criteria and benchmark. Some are successful, some, full of success. Some succeed but do not know it, as a result they continue the toil and struggle; they are not successful but successfools. Some get fulfilled with their success, others only get fooled by it.

Averagely, in a class of forty students, two get high distinction, three, distinction, and ten, credit with twenty getting just the pass. Five, however, fail to score above the threshold and are given a “fail”. Those who get fail, are they not successful? Or, the five who get high distinction, are they successful? The five who failed may well succeed at other endeavors. Their current grade is merely a stamp, a label, based on the criteria of some institution. While it is easy to see success vis-a-vis failure in this instance, the lines are offered blurred in other streams of life.

Is divorce a failure of marriage or the partners? Is sacking an employee a failure of the employee, employer or the job? What about not getting to the top level, or failing to secure that job or promotion? How about not bagging that gold medal or securing that place in the intended school? Upon careful examination, you will notice that almost all the time, you are branded “failure” because you are not good enough in the eyes of the one making the the judgement — be it an organisation or an individual. In reality, it does not matter what others think of you., especially if you have the strength of individuality and your own character. The lives of the greatest achievers across the globe exhibit exactly that.

The most divine preachers, and, materially, some of the most successful were, at first, deemed losers by their respective societies. But that did not deter them from pursuing their own path, on their terms, based on their own criteria, setting their own benchmark. When their persistence paid off, they had numerous followers and many takers of their path. The cattle only follow the shepherd because of shepherd’s resolve to lead the flock; when one starts following, the others follow suit. If the shepherd loses his resolve and does not set his own success criteria, he would soon be lost in the flock of sheep. Even his loud roars will drown in the bleating of sheep. And dogs, they are only used for rounding up the sheep and not for leading them.

There is a huge communication gap between the shepherd and the sheep, absence of a common spoken language being the greatest barrier. But the strength of shepherd’s own leadership — born out of determination, experience and individuality — overcomes that easily. With a stick in his hand, a couple of whistling sounds and whispers, as well as servile dogs give shepherd the control and sovereignty.

Succeeding at any endeavour can be compared to drilling a hole in the wall. The driller’s only focus is that hole at the time of drilling. The drilling machine and driller’s force are directed at that point on the wall with immaculate precision.  The outcome is achieved in no time with the focus, persistence and, equally importantly, the right tool. You can have the right precision, energy and attitude but using a spoon to drill a hole will only give you scraping on the wall.

A focused mind is the right tool, almost like the multipurpose drill that comes with tens of attachments. A settled mind is the most capable and competent shepherd. The senses will then serve as the watch dogs. With noble intentions, clear goal, morality as the foundation, compassionate attitude, contented soul, a peaceful mind, clear conscience, relentless pursuit, incessant effort and iron resolve, you will be truly successful before long. It may sound a lot but in reality it is not.

A mind that has turned inward with morality as the guiding light will supply you with all the other ingredients. For, your mind is the source of each one of them. If you can exercise surrender at that, with devotion and fervor to your God, the bulk of the work is done. You are ready for success to kiss your feet and be available to you at your beck and call.

A common folly is to keep setting new goals when you get to the current one. It feels natural and normal but that does not qualify it being right too. If you keep shifting the goal post, you will keep working for the rest of your life. Your struggle between want-to-do versus have-to-do will continue. Ever setting new material goals is merely your mind fooling you and keeping you busy.

Know what you want materially, give a portion of your life to attain that. Once done, consider busying yourself on things you have always wanted to do. Dedicate your life to the welfare of others or to your own spiritual attainment; both of which are not mutually exclusive; in fact, complementary.

Although a matter of personal opinion, it is not worthwhile to waste your whole life on material pursuits. However successful, that will be a life incomplete and not without stress. Learn to strike the balance. If you are able to let go off your desires, your needs will come down accordingly. And with that, the need for material struggle will start to disappear too. I know many people who could retire and live a more meaningful, fulfilling and relaxed life. But they choose to continue with the struggle. Partly because their passionate and restless mind does not allow them to put their feet up and relax and partly because they do not know any better. Some, of course, do not want to know — “successfools”!

Treading the path of self realization with sincerity will ignite the wildfire of transformation in you. Everything becomes clear. The futility of vain efforts burns completely in that process. You will come to know success like never before. No more tides of desires in the ocean of bliss in you. No more leaking holes in the pot of your consciousness, decidedly none in your conscience. Just you, in your own world, with everything you may possibly need available at your command. Success embodied, success glorified — “successful”!

Go on! Be successful. Aim for inner success this time. Once you start to enjoy the inner journey, the outer one will appear listless, lifeless and meaningless. Know what you want and when you have it, be contented. Do not keep wanting more; a blunder, that.

Peace.
Swami

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