One of our professors once asked us all this question in one of his light-weighted interactive sessions which he used to have to get us ouf from the rigor of our Masters course for few moments. We were 18 students in our batch and he patiently listened to all of our opinions. Many, including me, had an opinion that money & lots of money only means success. Some defined it as having your own organizaton and making it top 10 in the world. My professor didn’t say which answers were right and which were wrong. He then gave an opinion based on his wisdom and to this date I can’t forget what he said. According to him, “Don’t just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order”
Ten years after that session, I came to learn that he is so right. You cannot, enjoy driving a Aston-Martin if your back hurts, enjoy a great meal if you are diabetic, enjoy a salary hike if you got divorced the same day. There is so much more to life than just material needs. We all want to succeed in our lives but then in that race we all actually loose some of what we really enjoy doing. It could be getting drenched in rain, having an ice-cream on a chilly night, playing with the kids, having candle-light dinner with your wife/girlfriend, going crazy and roaming in a shopping mall for the whole day with no intention to buy anything, ditching school/office for a matinee show.
Having said that, it may not be the same for all. If it would have been, Madam Curie wouldn’t have lost her life living her passion for radioactive materials which saves a lot of life today, Galileo would have simply obeyed the church and accepted that the earth is flat and would have lived longer, Ford would have stopped trying after he went bankrupt, Bill Gates wouldn’t have been the world’s wealthiest man and there wouldn’t have been Windows. Everyone has their own perception of success. But there is one common thing: passion & sincerity.
What is your definition of success? Are you doing what you are passionate about? Are you sincere in what you are doing?