It had become a routine of her corporate life where during every official meeting some people, out of their personal grudges will cut her off unnecessarily at every step of the way. Their harsh comments and criticism was meant to disregard her efforts and take credit which wasn’t even due. Outcome of this was, that she, not being able to go down to their level, just had the option to recoil quietly. People didn’t stop passing mean comments and she also couldn’t stop from blaming herself for everything. But, that day, something changed inside her. She, with absolute patience, responded politely to all the criticism. And after the meeting instead of blaming herself and feeling pity she was glad that she was able to handle the situation with confidence and fortitude.
That’s how she measures her success now.
He was running late for office. The day ahead was jam-packed with meetings with clients. Meeting after meeting, he couldn’t spare time for lunch or even prayer. Feeling dead tired he left for home. A couple of calls for prayer went unnoticed. The more he was trying to manage his day-to-day tasks the more his life felt entangled. Working till late at night made getting up for the morning prayer an uphill task. Then one day he realized that unless you manage your prayers you can’t manage your life no matter how hard you try. So, he started moulding his life around prayers rather than doing otherwise. And the day he offered all five prayers he was elated and satisfied as it was his definition of success.
He was an employee of that office for the last five years. That nine-to-five job turned him into a working machine in corporate culture. He was unaware of his surroundings as he was too busy dealing with his own issues. When one day the old guard at the gate of his office, with salt and pepper hair & beard and wrinkles all over his face; smiled and waved at him. Suddenly he was brought back to reality. That one kind gesture proved to be a beautiful start of his day. When he got free from his hectic routine and had forgotten about everyone around him, that kind soul was still standing at the gate to wave at him with a gentle smile. That one kind gesture of that old soul made his day. From that day onward, he was the one to first wave at the guard with a generous smile.
It was his measure of success.
She had always been a spiritual person. But, the society demanded that she get complete her education first. She got a degree in finance. Life took a turn and she had to start working for a living. Many years passed struggling to make both ends meet. Then after ten years or so when life got a bit easier and she finally managed to take some time out for her; she enrolled herself in a religious course. That was when she finally considered herself successful.
He had been driving his car since the last 20 years and always grimaced on the lack of driving sense in people on the roads. The narrow roads with encroachments and the rush hours, always made the situation worse. But that day, when on a busy road, a woman with her child was trying to cross the road, he was the first one to give them way and let them pass.
That day, his success was not measured by grades or a pay raise but with kindness.
She was the epitome of elegance who always looked gorgeous with her graceful clothes and stylish accessories. Her wardrobe was always filled with the dresses from the clothing line of renowned designers. Then one day she visited an orphanage in her area. The heart wrenching stories of the girls and boys residing there made her realize how blessed she has always been. With a heavy heart she went back home. Her room was still filled with unopened bags of clothes, shoes and accessories from her yesterday’s shopping spree. One after the other she started opening the shopping bags. Yesterday She was very excited about each and everything that she picked during shopping. But now the same things felt like a burden on her soul. She picked some of her favorite items and decided to gift them to those children who deserved them the most, at least much more than her. A few days back she could not even think of giving her favorite things to someone else unless these things were used or rugged. But today, she was willingly giving many of her favorite items to charity with a satisfaction in her heart and glint in her eyes.
This was the success she had never been able to achieve till that day.
At the age of sixty-five, when she was having joint pains with several other issues, life had slowed down for her. Simpler tasks started taking longer than usual to be done. A walk down a series of steps started feeling like burden. Then with a burning desire to uplift herself, with the backdrop of being able to take care of her husband and children; she made the decision of taking care of herself before everything else. A simple exercise which previously felt difficult to accomplish was now part of her daily routine. Slowly and gradually it started uplifting her spirits and she, once again started living her life with the same zeal and zest as before.
This was her success story.
He was the first from his group of friends to enter the library. Where one of his class fellows was already present working on his assignment. His class fellow started telling him some spicy gossip about one of his friends. Previously, on hearing some hot gossip about someone he used to tell his friends instantly. But this time he listened cautiously with an open heart. Responded courteously without maligning anyone and decided to keep it to himself. With a contented heart he left with a spark of success in him.
We have restricted our success to achieving high grades, pursuing highly acclaimed careers and becoming richer in our wealth and beauty. These strict concepts of measuring our success have left us competing constantly without achieving peace of mind and personal satisfaction. No one can define the kind and level of success for us.
Our elaborate resumes, carefully crafted social media profiles and detailed portfolios cannot capture the essence of our true failure or success.
After pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy, if you think your level of happiness isn’t going to increase then this is not the real measure of success for you. If after becoming the CEO of a multinational company, you can’t sleep better at night, ask yourself that are you really successful.
Let not force ourselves and our coming generations to run after fabricated tales of success and discontented idols of accomplishment.
No matter how much you earn and whatever you achieve, if you are not satisfied with your life you are not truly successful. Nature reveals itself in stranger ways. It shows us all that the world we have fabricated around us is only making us more and more absorbed in worldly desires. It has only made us more competitive and less mindful of our spiritual needs. Needs of the mind and those of the spirit can never be same. No matter how much we try to make our lives busy with our jobs and work one day we must go back to our roots.
That’s where the contentment of the heart resides.