I was talking to a 20 something engineering student a week or so back. I had gone there for a comedy gig.

We will call that guy Jason. Jason seemed a little lost, in spite of studying in a reputed government college. We were done with the gig by then and were just chatting generally about life.

He asked me what I thought about success and what I thought were the implications of success. He told me he may not want to pursue success the way the world views success-fame and money. He may just be satisfied with doing something meaningful for himself. I found myself telling him that as long as success made him happy, that’s meaningful. He had every right to pursue the success that made him happy. He was free to define his own terminology for success-as long as it made him happy.

Later, I thought to myself, if the eventual objective in life is happiness, why pursue success anyway. No, don’t get me wrong. I am an ambitious guy. I want to make money and name. I want to change the world. But, there is something wrong with our collective definition of success. Why do our definitions have to be the same? Is success an input or is it an output of life? In my world, everything we do is an input. The only output is happiness felt in the deepest corners of our hearts. You have have goosebumps when you were happy someday? That’s life’s only output, to me.

Success, as viewed by the world, is materialistically driven. It means a house, a car, visible ostentation. Most people do what most people do and since most people chase success irrespective of their happiness, we have more people who are successful and lesser people who are happier.

What a waste.

Yes, it is a waste of be successful without happiness. Success is meaningless without happiness. Then, if happiness is the objective, why chase success anyway? Your happiness is your success. You are free to define what happiness means to you and you are free to pursue it. You have no reasons to chase success and conform to society’s standards of success.

Success is an ambiguous term because it is outward driven. Happiness is a clear feeling. It’s inward driven.

Let me ask you 2 questions right now…

1.      Are you successful?

2.      Are you happy?

Think about that for a while. If you make a lot of money and live a lavish life, you may answer YES to the first question. But, whose standards are those? Those are society’s standards. WHO CARES? You. Why?

Now, think about the second question. Only you can answer the second question. The answer doesn’t stay outside of you, but inside of you. You know it. Go in front of the mirror and ask the person you see, ‘are you happy?’

You will have the answer. I promise. Look into the eyes of the person who is looking at you. Those eyes don’t lie. You don’t have to answer this question in front of anyone else. It doesn’t matter. Happiness is felt, inside of you. It doesn’t need social justification. We are not answerable to ANYONE for our happiness.

Ladies and gentlemen, YOU DON’T NEED SUCCESS.


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The power of stories

There isn’t much happening in the world which is new. Technology gets better; people get smarter because of the avalanche of information being thrown at them. Thanks to the proliferation of sexual content on the internet, kids are hitting puberty faster and making an early transition to adulthood. People grow up, work, create families, deal with the vicissitudes of life and die. The flow moves to the next generation.

The supply chain of human existence doesn’t change much. However, it’s the human stories which stir us, the stories of perpetual longing after happiness, amidst the various situations and challenges of life.

I haven’t written much fiction yet-just one book of short stories, which is an e-book, garnished with poetry and prose. However, it’s only after I finished writing all the non-fiction that I figure that the lessons may be the same but they can be represented through various life experiences, circumstances, stories.

Human life is an incomplete, for most people. Most of us struggle with the happiness conundrum for our entire lives. Only a few, perhaps 1% of the entire population, is able to reach true happiness, which is deep, intense and sustainable.

Stories resonate with us. Stories resonate because they present a slice of life, a slice we can relate to. We may not be able to share our experience with other people but we feel it inside.

Powerful stories move something inside us.

I know I have stories which have made me happy and made me cry. Sometimes I watch advertisements which are so beautifully written and executed that they make me highly emotive.

Advertising should move us. It should shake something inside. That is perhaps the difference between great advertising and average advertising.

Great advertising use the power of human stories to inspire, to entertain, to excite or to make us poignant.
This is not a paid post. But since I am writing about advertising, I must write about the recent TVC of Havells electrical appliances. There is a girl, perhaps waiting for her husband/boyfriend. She has got done with work and it is getting dark and she is getting scared.

She calls her husband and says, ‘kahan ho, andhera ho raha hai’ (where are you, it’s getting dark?) An old man, who is most likely the owner of the outlet where she works, hears this conversation and switches the lights back on.

Voila! She realized that suddenly it’s not dark anymore and looks towards the old man, who smiles at her and makes a typical gesture to not worry.

I loved the advertisement-a beautiful slice of life.

Thanks for reading.