Do we know what success means to us? Do we know what we want to achieve in life?

Individual Success

While it may not be easy to change the false narratives overnight, each one of us can create small islands of scientific inquiry, respect for nature and moral excellence, wherever we are… The goodness and wholesomeness will surely radiate from these moral havens

By Arvind Saxena

So, what is success in today’s world and who are the successful people according to you?Sounds so arcane and philosophical, even a waste of time.Yet, how we define this single word has, more than any other dimension, impacted the course of our development as a society.

Let us start by looking at ourselves. Do we know what success means to us?Do we know what we want to achieve in life? What is it that will give us contentment and satisfaction?

Money – that’s a fair goal.But then we must know how much?There has to be a count.Saying ‘lots’ is a poor choice – it leads to a sick mind and endless craving for more, ensuring a life of dissatisfaction and perpetual discontent.Let’s also remember that when we keep craving for more as an objective of life, we start making compromises and, without exception, we start angling for what actually should belong to someone else. Soon it turns in to stealing someone else’s due.So, wanting to earn money is not bad, but we must try and decide on a limit.This limit cannot be in terms of millions or crores only, it has to be in terms of – am I getting fair compensation for my labour and contribution and is it enough to meet a fair and appropriate standard of living.

Talking of intelligent and hard-working people, who earn more than subsistence wages, most if not all can come to some idea of what all they would like to have to feel comfortable – a house, a car – maybe two, money for education of their children, some medical cover and a retirement plan.How big should the house be, or which make of car?Which school or college the kids will attend and what kind of retired life you look forward to will vary from person to person.It doesn’t matter, as long as you can take a decision. And take the decision yourself without comparing with the aspirations of others – their goals do not have to be your goals.

Talking of how high, or how low if you like, one could aspire for, how about a 1955 Mercedes-Benz auctioned recently for a whopping $143 million, making it the most expensive car ever sold.Or partaking water from a 750ml bottle of Acqua di CristalloTributoa Modigliani water selling for $55,000. You could even crave for houses costing upwards of $2 billion.Perhaps you are not drooling, but what if some of our brethren are?Why is it wrong to earn wealth if you can, they would ask.

True, it is important to have a desire to move ahead, to reach the top of the pyramid, but why in terms of money alone.Remember Maslow’s Theory of Motivation or Herzberg’s Hygiene Factors?It was postulated that after achieving a certain standard of living, success would be defined by self-actualisation, i.e., a drive to improve yourself, to be of use to others, to build institutions and the societies we are a part of.What happens when the fire in the belly, for materialistic goods, is insatiable?Well, people lose their way.Ethics and morality take a back seat when the sole objective is to succeed in monetary terms.People then start looking for justifications for their immoral conduct by cooking up false narratives of superior minds and hard work for philanthropic objectives.

Have you ever wondered why expatriate technocrats are increasingly picked up for heading multinational corporations and IT giants in the West?That they are technically outstanding could well be true, but does that mean that there are no other equally competent American or European nationals? Think about it. Could it have something to do with a thirst to prove their worth, in a milieu where many of them might have experienced some form of discrimination in their adopted countries?

At the highest levels of corporate positions, one must presume that the thirst for money, even if it is a factor, cannot be the only mover.Most emerging technology, especially in the realm of IT and AI, is toxic – it works against human rights, privacy and egalitarianism — and is socially disruptive.Most business models in these sectors are based on stealing data, the new gold for commercial and militaristic exploitation.There have been many instances of employees of major IT companies protesting against development of technologies for military use and senior executives refusing to be part of such undeclared and nefarious objectives.Does the quest to succeed numb the moral compass of those who stay back? Read More… Become a Subscriber

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 30 September 2022

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