Waking up each day to be useful to someone, somewhere, is happiness!
A manager wrote to me saying he found our story (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal) irrelevant. He said, “If you have repaid your debt then there is something to learn from you. But you say you have not even started repaying anyone. And it has been 10 years. After a decade of trying, you are still a failure. I don’t find anything I can learn from you.”
I smiled at his perspective. Vaani and I are often asked this question – on how we carry the “burden of our failure”. We are also asked why we believe we what has not happened in 10 years will happen now. People wonder, only half in amazement, but mostly in a veiled cynicism perhaps, how can we still be hopeful.
I told the manager that while he has the luxury of choosing not to see a learning from our experience, we do not have that option. We only have this experience to live through. And what this experience has taught us is that it is never over until the last ball is bowled. Also, we can’t afford to lose faith in the process of Life. We can’t hide behind history and say that if a turnaround has not happened in 10 years, it will not happen in future too. That would be being irresponsible towards the people that we owe money to. And third, what we have learned is that it is possible to be non-worrying in our state; it is possible to be non-frustrated when your efforts don’t deliver the results; it is possible to be non-suffering when you don’t get what you want and are saddled with what you don’t want. We have learnt these lessons. We have learnt to live this way, happily, despite our excruciating circumstances. So we can tell you it is possible to live this way. We have deployed the power of reflection, resilience and resourcefulness in our Life. Now, if you don’t see a learning here which may be useful for you, so be it. But your choosing not to see it, doesn’t either dilute the experience or take away the learning! Most managers, because of their intense – often erroneous – conditioning see high-performance as only something relating to their KPIs and KRAs at work. But to us, as we see it, high-performance is the ability to face Life no matter what you are going through, what you are dealing with!
In a society where success is measured by what you have, than what you have learned, what you have faced, just because you don’t have material evidence to show, it is likely that you will be billed a failure. But any label that society pins on you need not stay stuck. You have a right to discard it. In fact, you must discard it. Clinging on to a label that society has stuck on you is a sure way to invite suffering and plunge yourself into depression. Understand that just because you have failed at something, you are not useless. In any context in Life, however difficult or hopeless the circumstances may be, you can be useful. Your worth is not determined necessarily by how much assets you own alone. It is also a measure of how useful you are, how many lives you have touched and how much value you have created for other people.
This is the paradigm shift Vaani and I made. We did not stop with trying to be only successful in Life; we worked on being useful too. This shift is what awoke us to a Higher Purpose of Inspiring Happiness. This is what helps us wake up each morning and keeps us going day after day after day – however hard our material Life gets. So, we have learnt that success and failure are both impermanent and are imposters, in fact. And no matter how much of a failure you are in worldly terms, it doesn’t mean you are useless. There’s always something that you can do that can benefit someone, somewhere. Doing this consistently, which is being useful, regardless of what we gain, to us, is happiness!