Success and failure

Question : What do you understand by ‘failure’ and ‘success’? What is the relation between them?

Speaker : When do you call something a ‘success’? You call yourself successful when you have a goal, and you reach it. It is this attainment of that goal that you name as ‘success’. Right?

We know how confused we often are. We know how divided our minds are. What kind of goals will come from a confused, divided, dependent mind? Confused, divided and dependent goals.

mind goalsA confused mind can only have confused goals.

Can achievement of these confused goals be called as ‘success’? When the mind is confused, obviously the goals are confused. How can these goals constitute your success? That is your definition of ‘success’. Right? “I target something, I get it, I say ‘success’. And if I do not get it, I say, ‘failure’.” But your targets themselves are dependent on some external person, force or situation. How can the attainment of these targets be ‘your success’. How?

Are you getting it?

First of all, my targets must be ‘my’ own. If my targets are not ‘my’ targets, how can that success be mine? Are my goals ‘my’ goals or are they mostly result of some influence upon me, something that I experienced, read, heard or saw?

So it’s a funny thing that we are now coming to. Our ‘success’ is not success at all. Even if we succeed, we are still not successful. But that also means that our ‘failure’ is not failure at all. If we fail, we are still not a failure. Neither is this success real, nor is this failure real.

You say, “I am successful” when someone else gives you marks. You don’t say, “I am successful because I was completely immersed in solving the equation.” You do not say, “I am successful because I have fallen in love with the subject.” Your success is none of that. Your success is when an external party certifies you that you are successful.

Your success is so dependent; your success is so influenced. When you dance, you don’t dance for yourself, for your own joy. You say, “I am successful”, when the audience starts clapping. What kind of success is this? A success slave to the audience. You never enjoy your moments.

What kind of life is this in which after a moment of joy, you ask for a certificate from somebody? “Please give me a certificate certifying that I enjoyed the moment.” What kind of life is this in which after drinking a glass of water you want a certificate that ‘I drank a glass of water’? Nothing is internal. “I do not feel deeply satisfied that I am no more thirsty. I am always in need of an external approval. Somebody else must say that I am successful. All my concepts of success are borrowed concepts, coming from somebody else.”

“I perform a stage-play on this podium and I do not get much appreciation. The same play I perform at another place, at a reputed institution and my heart swells with pride. Great, I have done something great.” Why? What has changed? The outside has changed. Now the outside is giving you a certificate. And that certificate means so much to you, you are such a slave of that certificate. There is nothing of your own. And mind you, this success will always be accompanied with failure. Why?

First of all, it is not real. Neither the success is real, nor the failure is real. And at the same time, this success will always come along with failure because you cannot call something as success unless you have tasted failure. In fact, the more failed you feel, later on more successful you will feel – this is the world of duality.

Have you observed yourself when the results are just to be announced? There are times when you have a feeling that you have failed. You know that you did not write the exam properly and there is a feeling that this time you may fail. Now when the result comes out and if you are passed, there is a great feeling of success. The greater the feeling of failure before the results, the greater will be the feeling of success after you are declared passed.

What kind of success is this that depends on feeling of failure first? And if you are not feeling like a failure first, you will not enjoy that success also. What kind of success is this for which you have to first feel miserable? You know you are wearing a tight pair of jeans for the entire day and the entire day was spent in suffering. The jeans was so tight, not fitting properly. When you go back in the evening and take-off the jeans, you feel so relieved. You say, “Great, I am feeling so great.”

Such is our success. It depends on suffering. First you must feel the suffering, only then you will feel the relief, the feeling of success. Why do you have to run after such success? Keep feeling miserable till the results come, so that when the results are declared, you can distribute sweets. You will not distribute sweets if you were not feeling miserable before the results.

Go into your mind and see what you do from morning till evening, and find out the truth of your living. Find out what you enjoy doing, without the fear of success or failure. Then you will not need to run behind something for success. Find that out!

-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

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3 thoughts on “Success and failure

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