What is “success”?

Humanity is the only organism that even contemplates “success.” All other organisms just go about the process of living — breathing, eating, nesting, procreating, dying — without any contemplation of succeeding or failing. For we monkey-minded individuals, we set goals, and success is overcoming our self-imposed challenges or hardships — whether mental, physical or spiritual — by maintaining a continued focus as we climb to the top of our mountains.

There are times, success may be defined by others. As a writer, success is when readers discover my book and — thoroughly enjoying it — they recommend it to others or buy it as a gift to share (Aweigh of Life under my pen name of e.d. snow). But as the author of that book, my sense of success is very personal. Since writing is a long and arduous journey, success is in having completed that journey, having gotten it published, and ultimately feeling confident that it’s well written and I accomplished what I set out to achieve.

But the definition of “success” is a spinning top. For a drug addict or alcoholic, success could be scoring the next fix or it could be finally turning the key and committing to a clean-and-sober life and establishing a supportive community. What is deemed “success” will always be relative to who is watching the movie called Life and how thoughtful the perceived goal was.

They do say there are no winners in war, but for those engaged in it, success for the aggressor is killing and destroying as much as possible until the defender is crushed and surrenders. As the defender, success is in gathering the forces of spirit and the resources and tact to crush the aggressors, driving them from their space and territory. For the UN and peacekeepers, success is in garnering and maintaining a peace treaty.

For me, success can never be achieved if the goal is wealth and riches, which I believe  fuels of all wars, because those who aspire for such will never be satisfied. They will clamor for more. Success is in finding peace within our own internal wars and damping down the weapons of anger, jealousy, greed, sloth, envy, restlessness, and, yes, doubt.

Success is witnessed in the achievements of little seven-year-old Aneeshwar Kunchala who  writes his own poetry and creates his own YouTube blogs on saving the earth and gets international recognition for it. Success is having the courage to give voice in order to change the human dialogue, to bring focus to the existential issues facing humankind, those voices being heroes like the Greta Thunbergs, Martin Luther King, Jrs., and Nelson Mandelas of the world, who took on the challenge to be spokespeople for all.  Yes, like writing a book, ultimate success will depend upon how many hear the cries and react and act to effect the change necessary for humanity’s survival.

Success is being able to touch the depth of one’s spirit and heart in the midst of the worst of adversities and from that depth gather the strength to help others.

Success  is being able to be a still pond in the midst of all challenges in life.