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Monday, January 21, 2013

Success and Failure are mere visitors in your Life!

Stay unruffled in success and in failure! Treat both as mere events. And know that both of them are impermanent. They will pass too having served their tenure in your Life!


Almost everyone struggles for a big break in Life. Behind every success story is years of hard work and toil. Yet, when people do become successful, they often forget the road they have walked and are struck by hubris. Very few successful people have been able to avoid being felled by hubris. A very successful business leader in the US was once asked by a reporter from Fortune, what the secret of his humility and success was. And he pointed to a framed poster that hung on a wall in his office. The poster said: “Beware of the Giant Killer: Hubris!” The CEO said he looked at the poster a few times daily especially when he received praise or when one of his decisions, taken amidst much debate, bore fruit! “True success,” said the CEO, “is to keep hubris out of your Life!”


The latest issue of Open magazine has a story on the “Side Effects of Fame”. And it talks of an anecdote about the late Hindi actor Navin Nischol refusing an offer to act alongside Amitabh Bachchan in the 1975 cult film ‘Deewar’ directed by Yash Chopra. Shashi Kapoor went on to play that role and his dialogue ‘Mere Paas Maa Hai’ has become Hindi cinema’s most memorable one-liner! Nischol’s reasoning for declining Yash Chopra’s offer was hubris. He had been successful with some films in the late 60s and early 70s. In 1971, he played the hero in a lesser-known film called ‘Parwana’, in which Amitabh Bachchan plays the villain. Nischol apparently told Chopra that since he was a hero he cannot play “second fiddle to an upcoming actor like Bachchan”. Surely, later in his Life, Nischol may well have rued his decision several times over! Because ‘Deewar’ became a classic and Bachchan a super star with it!


I have been felled by hubris too. In the years 2002~2005, when I was taking wrong decisions with our business, I was told by everyone around me that we would pay a huge price if we walked that way. I heard all the advice that came my way. But never bothered to listen to any of them. The thing with hubris is that it blinds you and deafens you at the same time.


Ultimately, hubris will lead you to your downfall. And in the time that you are grounded, when you are licking your wounds, is when you will awaken to the numbing realization that you had ignored the most basic, the elementary rules of Life__in both personal and professional situations. You will grieve. And you will agonize. But neither is going to make your situation any better. In fact, depression will set in and make a bad situation even worse.


Which is why, it is important to be untouched by failure too. And one sure way to do that is to learn from it. Treat the entire experience as a lesson and not as a crime. That way you will find and leverage value in a loss, defeat or failure.

Remember that both success and failure are visitors in your Life. And visitors don’t stay forever. They only visit. Both have a mind and time of their own. We cause or invite neither. Though, with all our logic, we will want to believe that we actually do. The truth is that we have a right to act, to lay out and follow a process, but really can’t always control the outcome of our efforts. And yet we have to own the outcome we end up with. Intelligent living is about understanding this truth and living by it.  

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