This is a famous quote by Henry Thoreau, which carries an enlightening message. To unveil that message, let's first try to contemplate on a very significant and vital question– “What truly is success?” For a dull and dim-witted student, making just 33% marks defines success. While, for a bright and intelligent one, a score of even 90% fails to satisfy the definition of success if his competitor has got 95%! For a pauper, receiving plain and simple food twice a day enough to keep him alive is a success. Whereas, for a millionaire, throwing a luxurious party to his friends and relatives with all probable delicacies in a seven star hotel may fail to meet the parameter of success! As each one of us is so very different in our choices, weaknesses, habits and so on, then how can we set one destination point as a victory mark for all? So, the query remains– 'How to define success in the true sense?' Let's ponder...
It was a dark night. Only few tiny stars were peeping through the clouds showing their twinkling faces. In those hours of darkness, a man was snoring hard in his cosy bed. That man was Martin Buber, the Great Jewish Philosopher & Theologian of his times. In his dream he saw that after death, he has been taken to the Eternal Kingdom of the Lord and the Lord whispered to him– “Martin Buber, I do not ask you why you were not the Moses or one of the great rabbis of History; all I ask is why you were not Martin Buber?”
From these words, we may draw a brief yet substantial idea about 'true success'– 'Success means to be the best you can be, the finest you can grow according to your own potentialities.'
However, this definition is not adequate to deduce the complete meaning of success. To understand the term in toto, let's know the prime requisites for success:
HAVE A DEFINED GOAL, A CLEAR VISION
Helen Keller was indeed a distinctive personality. She was blind, dumb and deaf. Yet, she made commendable achievements in her life. Once someone asked her– “Ma'am, what do you think could be worse than being born blind?” In a split second she replied– “To have sight but no vision!” If you go through the autobiographies of great achievers, you will find them saying in unison that the propelling force in their life was– a goal, a dream, a mission, a target, a purpose– something that always kept them motivated. If you don't have a goal in your life, you are never going to achieve what you could have achieved. When Robert Kennedy was assassinated, many of his writings were published in the newspaper. In one of them, he had remarkably quoted– “Some people look at things as they are and say, why? Some people look at things as they could be and say, wow, why not I?” That's the distinguishing feature in the attitude of a successful man. He looks at the possibilities and steers those possibilities in the direction of his goal.
Now, the next question which crops up in this perspective is– What type of goal should one choose for his life? While selecting the mission of our life, many a times we commit an error. Once, a farmer was teaching his son how to plough a straight furrow. He advised his child– "Son, locate a pointer in the front, focus on it and drive straight towards it." The son started very enthusiastically. But, unfortunately, instead of a straight furrow, it looked like a snake going crisscross all across the field. On seeing that, the farmer asked his son surprisingly– "Son, what did you focus on in front of you to decide the direction for ploughing?" The son innocently replied– "The horse in the front field, papa." We also sometimes keep wavering in our ambitions, as a result of which, we are unable to maintain a proper focus. Therefore, make sure that your goal is firm and fixed. Otherwise, you may land up in confusions and mess. Do you know how a lion, the king of forest, is tamed by circus-masters? A tamer deliberately uses a chair and keeps moving it, while facing the legs of the chair towards the lion. The lion attempts to attack the chair, but it fails. Reason being, it gets confused as to which of the four legs to attack first. It gets badly entangled in this mental confusion and becomes passive. Similarly, in order to avoid confusions as to what we should focus upon, we should choose one particular goal of our life. A single goal gives a sense of accomplishment, direction and motivation.
MAKE STRATEGIES, HAVE PROPER PLANNING
Someone has beautifully said– "If we fail to plan, then we plan to fail." Once, a passenger was talking to the Captain of a huge ship, 'Queens Mary', during an ocean cruise. He asked the Captain– "How long would it take to stop this vessel?" The Captain thought and replied– "If I shut down all the engines right at this moment, it would take nearly a mile to completely stop this vessel." The passenger added instantly– "That means a good captain thinks at least a mile ahead."
In order to grab success, we need to think and plan before. We need to strategise our actions prior to their execution. Let's understand what does 'planning' mean. Planning means 'right decision' at 'right time'. In the wit's dictionary, there comes a word– 'Disillusion'. Do you know what it means? It means putting lots of effort and hard-work to climb to the top of the ladder only to discover that you made the ladder lean against the wrong wall! Therefore, proper planning is essential to reach the correct destination. Mathematically,
Wrong Decision at Wrong Time = Disaster;
Wrong Decision at Right Time = Mistake;
Right Decision at Wrong Time = Unacceptance; and
Right Decision at Right Time = Success.
Just see, how this formula for success works...
There was a boy who sold newspapers in a market. He had many competitors in his area of distribution, due to which he could sell only a few newspapers every day. One day, he reached the market earlier than others so that he could sell more newspapers. But, in half an hour, other boys also reached and he found that despite coming early, he could not earn much profit. He thought for a moment and realised that taking money and giving back change was a time consuming factor. The next morning, he reached the market at usual time, but with a changed strategy. He went to each of the stalls and dropped the newspaper. However, instead of waiting while distributing, he told everyone– “I will be back in a while to collect the money, Sir”. That day, he sold all his newspapers. Soon, he became the leading distributor of newspapers in that area. Certainly, his success was the result of the decision that he took at the right time in the right direction after contemplation.
MAKE SUPREME LORD YOUR COMPANION
In every facet of our life, we often feel the need to bracket together with a partner... A companion who is intelligent, quick at making right and wise decisions, source of immense energy and power! A friend, who never deceives us, never betrays us, who is never green-eyed with us! Someone, who can guide us and help us in accomplishing our goal of life! If we look around, we would definitely be unable to hunt for such an absolute personality, who encompasses all these traits. But, for sure, there exists one... He is none other than God, the Supreme Lord Himself. So, why not make God as our companion, who is the foundation of all these qualities, the source of all these traits, and above all who is eagerly waiting for us to extend a hand of friendship to Him. Believe it! Once He stands by us, we will experience an aroma of confidence around us, just like Mr. Mouse in the following allegory...
Once, Mr. Mouse was crossing a bridge that stretched over a deep river. Mr. Mouse wasn't alone. A giant elephant was accompanying it. As they moved, the bridge shook due to the heavy weight of the elephant. On reaching the other side, Mr. Mouse twisted its moustache and said with a feeling of great pride, “Hey, we shook the whole bridge, didn't we?” (Although, Mr. Mouse's weight was almost negligible, far from being able to give even the slightest of jerks to the bridge!) Likewise, after crossing through all the dilemmas and problems that come in the way of success, we can also boast like Mr. Mouse– "Hey God! We shook the world, didn't we?" This is the confidence that we ensure for ourselves when God is our companion.
God bears our responsibility and we simply proceed as His assistants. His Holiness Ashutosh Maharaj Ji often recounts a very inspiring instance. It's a story of Saint Theresa. She had a dream to build an outstanding, magnificent temple of the Lord. She, therefore, went from door to door in order to collect donations. In one of the houses, when she rang the door-bell, a lady came out shouting angrily– "What do you want from me?" Theresa replied calmly– “Actually, I wish to erect a temple of the Lord. I am collecting donations for the same." The lady asked suspiciously– "How much will your temple cost?" Theresa replied– "Perhaps, millions of dollars." The lady looked at Theresa from head to toe and asked– "How much do you have right now?" Theresa very confidently replied– "I have two paise." The lady mocked– “Have you gone insane or are you daydreaming? It's easy to build castles in the air, but not temple on the ground. You have just two paise and…” Saint Theresa interrupted and said– "Ma'am, probably you are mistaken. I had not completed my statement when you asked me about my possessions. I have two paise plus 'God'...His bountiful grace with me." And it's recorded on the pages of history that Theresa succeeded in her mission! Of course, because God was her companion!
Our powers, our energies, our resources may be limited and insufficient to reach the heights of success. But, if we club our limited resources with His unlimited grace, no one can stop success from coming to us. So, choose Him as your companion, your best friend... not in words but practically. And, be among those fortunate ones who are remembered as successful personalities, for generations to come.