The Measure of Success

-by Harshvardhan Tiwari, Graduate student, Institute of Technology, Nirma University

Albert Einstein famously quoted, “A life lived for a purpose is a meaningful life.” We often associate ourselves, and others around us, with the need to have a purpose (not talking about the stage of life at which we associate ourselves with (and what) purpose), and then measure one’s success on the grounds of grade he achieves while pursuing a committed target. But wait, is this not something resonating with a often used biased term “judging”? To assess one’s success in his own sphere on the notes of well-defined set of criteria, which are not totally relevant to his definition of success, may be referred to as judging one’s ability to perform certain task. Criterias may include making money, having fame, societal status, or posh lifestyle, and so on and so forth. Of course they vary with the point of view of the person, but generalizing the factors of judgement gives us more or less the exact stated points. Whereas, on the other hand, a person may not consider, for example, making lump-some money as his own measure of success. So, irrespective of his situation, or “set of criterias”, or just goals, we tend to grade him zero on the factor of making money. And then while putting our analysis out, we actually negatively bias him for not making good money. Is this not (broadly of course) judging a person, stated formally as “He is incapable of making money, so he is not successful.” We have made our decision of declaring him as unsuccessful, and judgement is but in simple words, to make considered decisions.

So does it really matter to measure one’s success on the basis of someone’s ideology? It appears that the answer to this question is absolutely no, but then it blocks the path to place people in the hierarchy of the amount of success one has actually achieved. An immediate answer to this can be as: since different profession requires different set of qualities, one may measure success on the factors most suitable to particular profession the person is in. Also, one may give a rather “specific” answer as to measure one’s success by putting ownselves into his frame of thinking and then measuring whether he has performed optimally in the given circumstances or not. Again, for the later analysis one needs to have a set of factors, and rules, to actually reflect the level of efforts the person has put in. This takes us again to the center stage of discussion, that mindsets vary from person to person and hence the amount of output differs from person to person under same circumstances. And hence the debate of whether the measure of one’s applicability of idea in a situation is satisfactory or not is never ending.

Concluding, we can only say that everyone is right at his place. And no one can actually measure the “success” of a person “fairly”. What all we can do is to either judge them, measure his level of achievement in his field, or make ourselves experience the exact same situation. Neither of the above method if foolproof measure of success, but at least gives the outline of the performance of the person, if we are really interested in knowing it. Otherwise, it’s always better not to measure it. Because everyone has got his own unique set of problems, their solutions, and set of guiding principles. And since everyone is unique in itself, everyone will frame his own school of thoughts, rules and principles, which will ultimately become his beliefs for the rest of his life.

Measurement of success. Wait: does it really matter?

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