Acharya Prashant is dedicated to building a brighter future for you
Success and failure
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
169 reads

Acharya Prashant (AP): Ashish wants to understand failure and success, and the relation between them. When do you call something a ‘success’? You call yourself to be successful when you have a goal, and you reach it. And the attainment of that goal, you name as ‘success’. Right?

Now, we know how confused we often are. We know how divided our minds are. What kinds of goals will come from a confused, divided, dependent mind? Confused, divided, and dependent goals.

A confused mind can only have confused goals.

Now, can the achievement of these confused goals be called as ‘success’? When the mind is confused, obviously the goals are confused. And how can these goals constitute your success? That is your definition of ‘success’. Right? “I target something, I get it, I say ‘success’. And if I do not get it, I say, ‘failure’.” But your targets themselves are dependent on somebody external on some external force or situation. How can the attainment of these targets be ‘your success’? How?

Are you getting it?

First of all, my targets must be my own. If my targets are not my targets, how can that success be mine? Are my goals ‘my’ goals or are they mostly the result of some influence upon me, something that I experienced, read, heard, or saw?

So, it’s a funny thing that we are now coming to. Our ‘success’ is not success at all. Even if we succeed, we are still not successful. But that also means that our ‘failure’ is not a failure at all. If we fail, we have still not a failure. Neither is this success real nor is this failure real.

You say, “I am successful” when someone else gives you marks. You don’t say, “I am successful because I was completely immersed in solving the equation.” You do not say, “I am successful because I have fallen in love with the subject.” Your success is none of that. Your success is when an external party certifies you that you are successful.

Your success is so dependent; your success is so influenced. When you dance, you don’t dance for yourself, for your own joy. You say, “I am successful.” when the audience starts clapping. What kind of success is this? A success slave to the audience. You never enjoy your moments.

What kind of life is this in which after a moment of joy, you ask for a certificate from somebody? “Please give me a certificate certifying that I enjoyed the moment.” What kind of life is this in which after drinking a glass of water you want a certificate that 'I drank a glass of water?' Nothing is internal. “I do not feel deeply satisfied that my thirst is quenched, that I am no more thirsty. I am always in need of external ratification. Somebody else must say that I am successful. All my concepts of success are borrowed concepts, coming from somebody else.”

“I perform the same play on this podium and I do not get much weightage. The same kind of play I perform at another place, at a reputed institution and my heart swells with pride. Great, I have done something great.” Why? What has changed? The outside has changed. Now the outside is giving you a certificate. And that certificate means so much to you, you are such a slave of that certificate. There is nothing of your own. And mind you, this success will always be accompanied by failure.

First of all, it is not real. Neither the success is real, nor the failure is real. And at the same time, this success will always come along with failure because you cannot call something a success unless you have tasted failure. In fact, the more failed you feel, later on, the more successful you will feel – this is the world of duality.

You see, the results are just to come, the results are just to be announced, and you are feeling that you have a feeling that you have failed. You did not write the exam properly and there is a feeling that ‘I am gone, finished, failed.’ Now when the result comes and if you are shown to be passed, there will be a great feeling of success. The greater the feeling of failure, the greater will be the feeling of success.

Now, what kind of success is this that depends on the feeling of failure beforehand? And if you are not feeling like a failure beforehand, you will not enjoy that success also. What kind of success is this for which you have to first feel miserable? You know, you are wearing a tight pair of jeans for the entire day, and the entire day was spent in suffering, it is so tight, not fitting properly. And then you go back and, in the evening, you pull of the jeans, you feel so relieved. You say, “Great, I am feeling so great.” (everybody smiles)

Such is your success. It depends on suffering. First, you must feel the suffering, only then you will feel relief. First, feel the suffering, and then only you can feel the relief. Why do you want to run after such success? Keep feeling miserable till the results come, so that when the results come, ‘I can distribute sweets.’ You will not distribute sweets if you were not feeling miserable before the results.

This is that second kind of education. To go into your own mind, to see what you do from morning till evening, and find out the truth of your living. This is that.

YouTube Link:

Receive handpicked articles, quotes and videos of Acharya Prashant regularly.
View All Articles