Why does success come to people so easily at some phase of their life, only to play hide-and-seek later on?
Success was mine some time ago, for a very long time. Almost everything I touched turned to gold. It courted me and gave me abundance beyond anything I had imagined. It just came – without me having to chase it consciously.
Of course, I worked very hard and thought about solutions day and night. I built a big team of people who believed in me and in what I did. The organisation across the country benefited from my initiatives. I was the blue-eyed sensation of people who mattered. I somehow did the right thing at the right time. I wasn’t even aware I was doing anything out of the way.
That was more than fourteen years ago. Then the edifice of success began to fall piece by piece. Then I decided I would find my fortune working for myself rather than for a big organization.
After I started on my own, my descent into chaos was even faster. Where once I had attracted success effortlessly, failure eased into my business and existence, and became my constant companion. I lost everything. My house, my cars……. everything.
I used to be admired for my efficiency and ability to design operations systems. I guess my efficiency did not desert me, it was just that I was perhaps heading in the wrong direction – efficiently.
There was a hole in the company’s pocket, the accounting system was in tatters. We spent huge amounts to advertise for and recruit expensive people to join us. Nothing worked. Then we lost major accounts one by one. We are now just about floating.
I often ask myself how everything I touched turned to gold for a big part of my life and then, when the tides reversed, they took away everything I had gained and more. I am still searching for the answer and hopefully, one day I will find them.
I am lucky the hunger and foolishness Steve Jobs spoke about still keep me company.
I believe staying hungry or passionate is a blessing. And, like Zorba the Greek told the young philosopher, one needs some foolishness or madness to cut the rope and be free.
Were all those failures necessary for me? May be I should have embarked on some other fulfilling paths a lot earlier? Perhaps one failure after another were signs I should not have ignored.
What are the lessons I should take from the last 14 years?
One, don’t take anything for granted. When you are courted by success, embrace her and love her. When abundance is there, be grateful and cherish it with your entire being.
Two, when you begin a new venture, you are beginning at zero and not from the heights of success previously experienced. Humility to roll up the sleeves, go to the streets and get dirty is the attitude to nurture – at whatever age.
Three, I am responsible for whatever happens. I should have taken as much or more interest in the company’s finances as I was taking in marketing and operations. There is no excuse for being weak in any important area of business.
Four, there is a huge danger in fearing and worrying about possible bad outcomes. Fears have the dirty habit of showing up when we take them seriously. We attract them to us.
Five, in relating to people within the organisation, begin from an area of trust. Value the presence and contributions of company staff.
Six, staying rooted and taking decisions from an oasis of quietness is essential. Meditation or whatever else that keeps you cool, helps – in ways that our minds cannot understand. What is essential is always invisible to the human mind.
Seven, don’t try to focus on too many things. That is no longer focus. I just have to accept that I cannot be everything to everybody.
In the end, it is all a game, do not take the outcome all that seriously. Just like in a game, you lose some, and win some. But play hard and play to win.
As Steve Jobs said, one can understand why things happen only when he looks backwards to connect the dots. If I am defining success as what I have become rather than what I have acquired, I needn’t be beating my chest all that much. Looking to achieve things of significance rather than outward frills of success is a beautiful goal. This attitude is a game changer.
What is beautiful about life is that at the end of the day, there is the night and darkness to dream. And then a new dawn breaks. That is all I need – to wake up and begin chasing the dream born in the womb of silent darkness.
Who knows what the tides will bring next? Whatever they bring, I will learn to surf. And have fun.