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In The End, What is Success Really?

 What’s Success? 

 Just look at few scenarios below.


1. Ph.D./FPM/Doctorate in Indian universities takes 4+ years; some schools may take 7+ years. I have seen sizable cases with even 10+ years. And you can’t put a dollar value on the efforts of a doctorate student. Often it is labeled failed! 

For example, a lady thinks it is useless, hopeless, and non-sense to spend time on this, mainly when you can’t gain anything from it!

2. Competitive exam like UPSC. My friend struggled for many years. Finally, for supporting himself – he started UPSC classes, and his students passed. He too passed, I think in his last attempt. Though now a director-general, but was labeled failed. Many such cases, who couldn’t succeed, were marked failed. 

And he, too, used to receive unsolicited suggestions of getting back to life by joining somewhere.  

3. Olympic player, say a runner. What if he comes forth by a fraction of a second and couldn’t win a medal. What shall we call them? (Remember Golden Girl P T Usha).

4. Novel business idea, brilliantly executed too, but couldn’t succeed may be due to Corona all over! what will you call him.  

5. Think of an IT project. What if an account manager couldn’t sell it to a prospective client even after a lot of effort? What shall his seniors call him? 

In general, whatever your answer is, they are labeled failed, unsuccessful, and even mocked and scoffed at! 

If you read “Old Man and The Sea” by Ernest Hemingway, your view of this will dramatically change. 

I read it 3 to 4 times, and in the last round, I read its Marathi translation by legendary P. L. Deshpande (Pu. La.). 

It’s a tiny book in size, called a novella. Just around 100+ pages, a single sitting read. But note – it is legendary Hemingway’s Nobel-winning work, also awarded Pulitzer prize for fiction.   

(Images from Amazon)

Whenever I asked readers, was the Old Man fail or Success. 

Everybody said no, he wasn’t a failure and even vouched for him.  

It is a story of an older man who couldn’t catch a fish for eighty-four straight days. His only companion, a boy, also had to leave him under family pressure. And in his latest round, he caught a magnificent colossal fish but couldn’t make a single penny out of it! 

So what do you call him fail or Success! 

When asked in group, class, or one-to-one, everyone says he isn’t a failure. 

But such well-meaning, educated people those who cited above often label efforts as fail? Why so? 

Does Success has to be objective? And one shall measure only in dollars and Rs? 

How would humanity have been, and where would it have been – if everyone placed a dollar value on Success? I am just thinking loudly. 

Anyway, I highly recommend this book

Not only for its this value but also its beautiful characters, drama, lucid writing. No wonder multiple movies also have been made on it! 

Now I am pursuing my teenage daughter to read it. 


I feel it should be required reading for every school! 

So do pick it up if you haven’t yet read it! I gave full five stars to it! 

My goodreads

2024 Reading Challenge

Santosh has not entered the 2024 Reading Challenge.

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