Swati Gupta

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Is it really ONLY success that we should strive for?

These days people are very active following the FORBES list of most successful people in the world, or Time's list of most effective personalities. They consider people on this list as their idols. Has the world really reached that saturation level today, that only these list of people can force us to follow our dreams. Is it only this way that people can achieve success? And after all of this is it only success in life that we need to strive for?
A person may not be good intellect, still very successful. So that means being successful in this way holds importance more than knowledge, intellect, excellence or dreams?
All of this Leads me to doubt the ideologies of the true definition of competence and success.
What in world is the true road towards success followed by greatness?

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    Oct 29 2013: Hi Swati !

    Why man want success?

    Answer is very simple- To be happy. When one think that his/her happiness lies only in achieving so and so, the striving begins. But the adversity is that there is not any final destination of success to satisfy you, to make you happy. Every time man achieve a goal, founds it as a milestone. Everyone wants to be successful in all fields of life. Life is multidimensional. Have not we seen the people success in one field, falls back in another. How many millionaire or famous people are happy? Why we associate success with fame or money only? Why not we consider a man successful who is happy? Aren't we want success for happiness? I am not against the spirit to succeed, But it should be in all dimensions. One should also think to be successful in relations, in love, in friendship.. after all life is this, others are just secondary things, just tools for a happy life.

    No one force anybody to follow them, to make them idol. Every successful man make his/her own path and do not believe in the ready made path to follow. But, people wants short cut to be successful, instead of making new path they find convenient way to follow ready made paths, so they make them idol. Idol should be made for guidance not to copy or follow. An idol can give this much information that if he cloud succeed so why can't you. But people follow and lose their true self. A pursuant person loses all potentiality to be a unique successor, to be a paragon, to be an idol.

    It's true, only efforts and striving aren't enough for success. So, according to me the true road towards success is when -
    1) Happiness is not tide with the goal of success, and
    2) One also take care the happiness of surrounding people, while journey towards the success. :)
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      Oct 30 2013: Hi Manish, I completely agree with your point. To what a man considers happiness, defines his success in that direction. You presented your view point in one of the simplest yet the best convincing mannerisms. Thanks:)
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        Oct 31 2013: Simplest is bcoz my English is not so good, :p lol
        your welcome swati, and thank you for asking such a good question.
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    Oct 29 2013: There is a bankruptcy in our systems that are stuck in the past. In this century, the majority of added value and socio economic development is now dependent on creativity, innovation, integrity and transparency. These however remain intangibles. They are all inputs that give us a better result. However our systems cannot measure and reward these intangibles, and have to await a numerical output. Success is therefore always taken from a numerical Output and this is because this is the only tangible number we seem to have to measure human performance. While this is sad, we also have the paradox. Most will say this is obvious "what else is there to measure performance?" - that is exactly my point. We need a broader intelligence and processes that can measure attributes (other than a numerical number) so that they can also become tangible measures of success.
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      Oct 29 2013: I think I get your Point Uday. I am satisfied to an extent with your reply too. Seeing the economic fronts, yes we are left with no other option but to quantify the degree of success. Because we live in an environment where to justify success we need to show the variant or the scale on which we are gauged. But what if suppose I'll give you an answer, I have a friend who is extremely brilliant, whose intelligence can't be gauged on any physical scale, but he doesn't focus on exams and so only gets an approximately good score. The topper score high scores but lacks knowledge, still people consider the topper to be successful. What then?
      Both the individuals might be categorically satisfied with what they have achieved but if success is defined on a physical scale, then it is for everybody to see, I ask, if it is so, for every other person to see how much some individual is successful, then shouldn't they be getting the correct view of it. In such an analysis, the topper must be less successful than the other one. How do we normalize success or rather equate and scale success then?
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    Oct 28 2013: Great question, Swati. Significance is what we should strive for. Our lives need to make a SIGNIFICANT difference in our world. That takes the focus off of us and places it on what we do to help others.
  • Nov 8 2013: When ever I see talk about money is not everything or success is not everything or is money everything or is success everthing, then my blood starts boiling and my mind gets heated up, and then I want to beat such phoney and phakandi people endlessly.
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    Nov 4 2013: It is only excellence we should strive for- better today than I was yesterday. But the question is, better at what? Better at developing the capacity of others to excel and everyday when I am able to do more of that and do it better- I know I am already successful. No FORBES no TIMES- I define my own success and I set my own standards. My success should never mean someone elses failure but rather my success should mean success for all.
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    Nov 1 2013: You have explained exactly what i said. When you use exam as the guage you are again dependent on Output to evaluate. What qualities your friend has are perhaps better than the person who does well in exams. As an example we all actually need and prefer to deal with or hire people who are sincere, focused, diligent, creative and have high integrity. These develop base on INPUTS, but are intangible qualities for which our systems have no exams or a way to identify or measure them. SO only extended time and long experience reveals these.
    That is my point. This is unfair to so many and a serious handicap and intellectual limitation. Still people say "obviously" - how can we measure these intangibles. I believe we can and we must. The need is to develop at the very least reasonably good processes that may not give a digital readout, but indicate these traits and reduce our dependency to judge people only on output and marks. As a society we are losing out on not being able to recognize millions of very special people among us who can ad so much tangible value..
  • Oct 31 2013: I think it is obvious that people should strive for success. What sense does it make to strive for failure? The definition of success, however, is highly dependent upon the person doing the striving. It is good to question, but it should be remembered that, whatever a person's goals, it is their right to choose them.
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    Oct 30 2013: the word "success" has a different meaning for different people. so first of all, u must define your meaning of it.
    also success is not just on Forbes list! to me, success means finding your way and starting the adventure!
    wish u success.:)
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      Oct 30 2013: That's exactly what my question is. For a better understanding let me state it this way. What is the ideal definition of success?
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    Oct 29 2013: Greyhounds never get to see the decoy they are chasing in circles Yet we are free to leave the racecourse at any time to explore the world beyond in ways we choose to.
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      Oct 30 2013: That's for people who think apart, or try and think out-of-the-box. Undoubtedly, you described your point in a very smart way.
      Thanks :)
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    Oct 29 2013: we could also seek failure, but that would lead to a whole array of logical contradictions
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      Oct 30 2013: Hi Krisztian!

      What is the meaning of this sentence"we could also seek failure, but that would lead to a whole array of logical contradictions"?
  • Oct 29 2013: I think it is how you define success. It should what is most important to you. Let me give you a personal story. My father worked himself up from the bottom (high school only) to a regional manager for a larger corporation. He was offered a senior position at corporate headquarters with the possibly of becoming the ceo. He turned it down because it would affect the family and put them into an environment that could hurt them. Family was success to him.

    I also think the definition of success changes with time, age and conditions.
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    Oct 28 2013: Success is relative. What do you measure it against ? Also there are many different ways to be successful. You can be successful in your profession, or successful as a parent or just successful in achieving whatever goals you set for yourself.
    I think, we all need some success in something because it gives us a feeling of accomplishment, but that doesn't mean that one has to be on the front page of Forbes.
  • Oct 28 2013: I thought your question has 2 levels. By defining success as wealth, fame, and influecnce I think Fritzie has already a good answer below. Of course I agree that happiness or sense of fulfillment should be the goral.

    From a different angle though, your title question has a much deeper meaning. If you define success simply as 'acomplishing one's goals'. Thent the question 'Is it really ONLY success that we should strive for?' is a much more interesting one, which I want to pose:

    If your goal IS to strive for fulfillment, happiness and deeper meaningful relationships for example, does it really matter if you fail? Once you define your goals, is success all that matters? If you set your goal as the journey, the experience and knowledge rather than the destination/outcome; could you walk away satisfied if your goal failed and you've learnt nothing?
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    Oct 28 2013: Success is good; if it means excellence in every area of life and living. A balance. No one area should be ignored at the expense of another. Everything and everyone given their due attention.

    it's hard; being an overall loser is far far easier.
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    Oct 28 2013: What feels like success or fulfillment is a very individual matter. I am sure you know many people whose goals fall much more in the area of love and family, for example, than in professional achievement of any kind.

    Don't you know many people you might describe this way?
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      Oct 28 2013: What i actually meant to ask was not what the area is wherein the goals fall, but what is it that truly defines the real success?
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        Oct 28 2013: Here are the talks about success: http://www.ted.com/topics/success

        In addition, Martin Seligman's talk shares research on which features of a life are most closely connected to people's happiness or sense of fulfillment, which is what many people consider "success.". He finds the quality of ones personal relationships, the sense of being engaged in meaningful activities, experiencing challenge and learning, and good health to be important factors.

        I don't know whether these address your question of the road to success. I don't think any of these talks prescribe a path to "greatness."
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          Oct 28 2013: You see greatness- the one I am referring to is a very moral objective. I don't mean to sublime the word greatness by any monitory achievements but by the idea of self-indulgence in the best works, just like the example I have stated as a supporting point in my question. I completely agree with your points of success, my only point is the indifference with the topic of greatness.. Though your answer satisfies my beliefs to more than some extent. Thanks!