Winners Do Not Always Win!!
All was quiet and still; bated breath.
And then the loud, angry cry.
Broad smiles, tears of relief.
Such joy…baby and mother are fine.
That’s the story of many a birth.
Baby is loved and cared for. No plans for baby, no dreams as yet.
Just a celebration of the little one.
Gradually, step by step, expectations and plans for the child creep into the narrative.
- Baby has to say her first word at 8 months
- Baby has to take her first steps at 10 months
- My child has to study in a particular school — I vividly recall a scene of a toddler coming out of a principal’s office being beaten by the mother as the child had not answered anything at the interview.
- My child will be a doctor, engineer or scientist, for the most intelligent study science.
- My child will go for IIT coaching from class 9 itself — doesn’t matter if it is a torture chamber that robs the adolescent of his/her adolescence.
- My child will study and work in the USA, (a few other countries have since been included) earning international salaries, will have a palatial house, with a couple of cars thrown in, and so on.
And the plans and expectations keep growing, for that is SUCCESS to most people.
A boy was brought to me for career counselling as he could not cope with Architecture, the course he was pursuing. He had not filled his PUC (+2) percentage. When I asked for it, I was shocked to find out that he had not passed. When I asked him how he had got into architecture, he said, ‘Ask my mother’. Well, mother had bought the seat bypassing all academic requirements, for in her mind he would enter the work force a year later, and how could she face friends and relatives. He had to go back to PUC, losing two years as this single mother could not now buy him another seat.
At this point it would be relevant to ask, what about the child? What about his/her dreams and plans for success?
Success and failure are subjective terms. They mean different things to different people.
Two years ago, at a parenting session in an elite school, a father stood up and said that he was the most successful of the group of about 500 people as he earned more than any of the rest. I don’t know how he dared to say that as he could not have known what the others earned. However to him, success was money, power and status.
For some it could be possessions, or achievements, attaining a goal, or even happiness.
I found this beautiful quotation by John C Maxwell which resonated with my thoughts.
Knowing your purpose in life,
Growing to reach your maximum potential, and
Sowing seeds that benefit others.”
Knowing my purpose in life is a search within to find out the purpose for which one was created. This purpose is unique to each one, for there is no one like me anywhere in the world. This purpose can be one that can make a huge difference in the world or it can be a tiny light, lighting up my small corner of my home, my family, my street, my classroom. Just don’t give permission to anyone to look down upon you and make judgements.
Growing to reach my maximum potential. Potential once again requires continuous introspection — looking within. It is said that potential is like an iceberg, possibly only one tenth of it is visible. It is for me to keep discovering more by delving deeper— knowing more and growing to reach one’s maximum potential.
While at this, we my make mistakes; surely we have all failed at something or other.
Arianna Huffington has said, “Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”
Our Past President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam once said, “Don’t read success stories, you will at best, get a message. Read failure stories, you will get some ideas to get success.”
And coming to the last part of the quote: ‘Sowing seeds that benefit others’
How can I be a success if I am concerned only about myself?
Where should I start sowing the seeds?
I am sure we have all seen and remember the semi-final heat of the 400 m race at Barcelona in 1992 in which Derek Redmond tore a hamstring. The haunting image that can give you a lump in the throat and moist eyes, of a father charging on to the track to put his arms around his son and tell him, ‘you don’t have to do this’. When Derek told him that he had to complete the race, the father said, ‘then we will do it together’. The beautiful part was that just before reaching the finishing line, his father let him finish it alone.
That’s where it starts, — in the home. Spouse, children, every member of the family needs a supportive environment, communication, a down to earth value system and faith. And not just the family, but everyone who work with, or for, us to make our lives better or more convenient. All must learn and grow as persons and better their status in life because everyone has dreams for themselves and their children. For that to happen I would need to share not only my resources but also my time, knowledge and skills.
And then, the sowing of the seeds should cross the threshold of the house into the outside world.
Who do I want to reach out to?
How do I want to reach out?
When, where, what — that is one’s choice and should be closely linked to one’s purpose in life.
Derek Redmond said,
‘I finished last …………… but I finished’. Success or Failure?
Winners do not always win!