To judge or not to judge: On receiving success


‘I need your input, Sathya!’ he said when inviting me over for a coffee. He wanted to discuss his new business idea and apparently to get my wisdom. I did feel empathetic about his enthusiasm as well as anxiety over starting a start-up. I have been there. While he did entertain few of my ideas and I felt glad helping a friend.

Three months into his start-up and he invited me for another discussion. I could feel that he had tasted success. It was evident. In fact I felt he was his overconfidence in his tone and mannerism – he must have felt he won the entire world.

While I left the meeting wishing him more success, I had this icky feeling about how about it. It is not just him I guess, but success indeed changed him.

As I was thinking is it failure or success that despises a man? We always were told that a man is defined and judged by how he accepts or receives failure. However I say we should change the definition. We should judge a man on how he receives success. Whether the person is able to receive it with dignity? Whether the person is able to receive it with magnanimity? Whether he is able to see through impermanency of success –that it is just an event and is temporary? Whether he is able to understand that the experience that he gained from this event can always be challenged at a later stage?

Too often with the easier access to success these days, people especially in our generation tend to be over confident about ourselves. We tend to think too big about ourselves and overestimate the effort that we have put into. No, I am not undermining a person’s valour, interest to pursue success but rather on how one changes when succeeds.

How well should we receive?

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two Impostors just the same.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

I believe in taking both success and failure in the same light.

  • Do not change yourselves and respond too quickly of your success or failure. The world has seen enough of it.
  • There is a saying in Tamil that says, ‘Arpanukku Valvu vanthal, a’. It means that a demean man when gets a riches, will wear an umberalla even in night. Be too big to be bothered either by success or failure
  • Be mindful of respecting people when you go through success or failure. Do know that there will be people whom you will need at times when you succeed and failure.
  • Do always be gracious enough to dedicate your success to those people who succeeded. In fact be gracious to credit success to those around you. Yes you were responsible for succeeding – yes you were the one who burnt the midnight oil to make this success happen. And yes you were the one who put the entire show together. People know this, especially those around you. However it is out of humility that raises within you in crediting those success to those around you. Do ensure you do this. People will love you for that. And in fact will work twice as hard next time to bring you success next time.
  • Don’t measure success in terms of getting things done as you planned it to be. Kindly measure it in terms of impact or outcome that your actions contributed. Moreover, ensure you have an internal yardstick to the continuity of this success in spite of your absence.
  • Consistency. People are going to wait for you credit your success to not more than luck. Kindly beware of this. The only other way you could disprove them is to get another success. For that kindly refer the above points.

Let us please not be blinded by the passing clouds of success. Let us remember to be ourselves both in success and failure, in ebb and flow. All the best for your success and receive it well.


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