Sunday, July 29, 2007

Don’t get swayed by success!

This post was originally part of Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog!

Irving Berlin once said, “The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success. Talent is only a starting point in this business. You’ve got to keep on working that talent. Someday I’ll reach for it and it won’t be there.”
True! It’s so easy to get swayed or a tad dizzy by success! In fact, it’s so very simple to get affected by any success. However, the ability to keep your head straight despite achieving success is what brings maturity to people. Managing success is an art!

Some people do get carried away by even a small amount of success. The reasons are fairly simple. They’ve been probably slogging away all their life, when suddenly, success visits them! And then, in that intoxicating next few days, or months, and sometimes years, their minds get swayed! Success also leads to envy — of others and from others. Success can make a person swollen-headed as well.

What most people do not understand is that, first, it takes immense patience, hard work and long hours to achieve success. However, once you have achieved it, the same success becomes extremely difficult to sustain. Why is it so?

Simple! Ask any top-class sportsman or achiever — most of the times they’d say, “Mate, every day begins with a zero!”

What does this mean? Well, whatever you did yesterday or in the past is gone! It’s history!! People have short memories, and they are liable to forget history! How do you continue to be in their memory? By achieving success over and over, for a long period of time. However, this would really take a toll on even the very best!

As an example, someone may write a good article, and get praised for it. While that’s great, it does not and the article should not become the person’s one-time song! Or, you may play a good game of golf or score a goal playing soccer one day. The next day, you don’t manage to play a similar game of golf, or well, even score a goal!

A friend once thought he possessed sound technical knowledge. However, on scrutiny by his superiors at work, who were quite experienced and technically sound, he cut a sorry figure! Why did that happen? He was good in a few parts of a subject, but not at all. His claim fell flat and he was found out or ’sorted out.’

This served a lesson for us — learning never stops and success is short-lived. We should constantly endeavor to learn and build, and grow in life. Success may or may not come all the time. What should matter is — what work were you really able to do at the end of the day and how good was it!

It’s all about focus, what you expect of yourself in this life, and how you are able to go about to achieve that. If your path is correct, success will surely be your guest. An advice to the youth — never say, “I can’t do it” or “I don’t know anything about a particular thing or subject.” Its entirely within your rights to go out and learn about any particular thing!

The human mind is said to be the best and it can achieve anything, provided the application is focused. So, “I can’t do it”, is misleading and negative. If there’s something new, take it up as a challenge and try to be good at it! The results of your effort would show, sooner or later, and that’d be success enough! However, again, do not let success go to your head! And do not envy those who you think are more successful than you are!

While on envy, I’d like to borrow a line from Francis Bacon, who wrote in his essay, “Of Envy,” that: They that desire to excel in too many matters, out of levity and vain glory, are ever envious. For they cannot want work; it being impossible, but many, in some one of those things, should surpass them. Which was the character of Adrian the Emperor; that mortally envied poets, and painters, and artificers, in works wherein he had a vein to excel.

Work to succeed in your strong areas. Envying successful people is pointless! Letting success go to your head even more so!!

If your work SPEAKS for yourself, that should be success enough. However, the work HAS got to be FINE! Otherwise, it would NEVER speak! Means, no success, and you would live in an illusion!

I’d like to conclude with a quote by John Ruskin, which says: “Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.”