A definite trait of highly successful people


To be successful is an art. All want to win but how many do it? Why? What is the defining trait of highly successful people? While the answers can be multiple, there are glaring differences between the attitudes of winners and losers.

Before we talk about winners’ thought process, let us first discuss what a victory or success is. While a success can be perceived in different ways, there is a definite feature of every success along with a consequential feeling of satisfaction. A victory without satisfaction is quite often more depressing than a defeat after a great performance. In other word, one’s sense of victory is proportionate to one’s inner satisfaction.

We know the most popular art to be a winner is to think positively, but have you ever done an in-depth analysis of what that positive thinking is and what your own definition of victory is? Perhaps yes, but perhaps no. Both victory and success are relative terms. What one person perceives as a defeat can be perceived as a victory by another person. In other words, for positive thinkers, a failure is not a failure and for negative thinkers, a success is, quite often, not a success.  This is because their thought process is different resulting from their level of consciousness.  Losers focus on what they don’t have and cannot do, while winners focus on what they have and can do.

Vedic wisdom teaches us that in the material world, all sorts of success are temporary. This is an issue as we, being the eternally existing spirit souls, cannot be satisfied with temporary success, and that is the main reason all so-called successful people of the world end up looking for a higher success without satisfaction. It is no rocket science to assimilate this fact if we sit and analyse, even our own lives.

In the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, the author Dale Carnegie says that we usually spend about 95% of our time thinking about ourselves. Not endorsing or rejecting what he says, if we fall among his estimated 95%, we are on a wrong track. I came across an interesting comment on this matter:

I am not among those “we”. I am a tiny spec in this universe among trillions of life forms that my life directly or indirectly depends on; my existence is meaningless without thinking about them and about mother Nature. The people who agree with your quote either do not see farther than their nose, or look inward trying to find a nonexistent soul. Anybody having to make a living by honest means have to spend most of their time thinking about nature and others, not him/herself. Win friends and influence people are among the least thing most people on earth think or worry about. (Source)

Despite my respect for the said book, the reason I liked the above comment is simple. First of all, when we say “I” or “we”, what do we think? How we identify ourselves is also tightly connected with our consciousness. At the same time, our identity, as we know it, is temporary and changes with time, place and circumstance. For example, if you introduce yourself in a family function you say whose son or daughter you are, but while introducing yourself in the corporate world you identify yourself with the company you represent. Similarly, if you are a minister of state and visiting another country, you identify with your country and present yourself accordingly. So material identification is not absolute.
ISKCON’s founder and acharya, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, explains what every living entity’s permanent identity is:
The living being, by his desiring to lord it over the material world and declining to cooperate with the Supreme Lord, contacts the sum total of the material world, namely the mahat-tattva, and from the mahat-tattva his false identity with the material world, intelligence, mind and senses is developed. This covers his pure spiritual identity. By the yogic process, when his pure identity is realized in self-realization, one has to revert to the original position by amalgamating the five gross elements and the subtle elements, mind and intelligence, into the mahat-tattva again. Thus getting freed from the clutches of the mahat-tattva, he has to merge in the existence of the Supersoul. In other words, he has to realize that qualitatively he is nondifferent from the Supersoul, and thus he transcends the material sky by his pure identical intelligence and thus becomes engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. This is the highest perfectional development of spiritual identity,….” (SB 1.13.55)

A little difficult to assimilate and much more difficult to achieve, this is exactly what the secret of all success is. It also demonstrates how a success, as perceived by one person can be perceived by another as a loss, and vice versa. We need to understand what we are. Consciousness of a person is a defining factor of his or her present identity and this identity is the defining factor behind his or her feelings of loss or gain.

The so-called success of a person can sometimes ruin one’s life and a so-called defeat of a person can shape a life towards higher success. Highly successful people of the world may promote their own philosophy and definition of success but what matters is how long such success lasts. As mentioned above, you and me, all of us, as eternal beings, cannot be satisfied by temporary success. And that which is eternal is only achievable by the grace of the Supreme eternal. If we can develop sufficient faith in the well-wishing nature of that Supreme eternal being, and if one can identify ourselves as eternal parts and parcels of Him, we will be able to remain on higher consciousness where success is the only way of life.

Hare Krishna


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