Nothing stops a man who desires to achieve success. The obstacles on his way only strengthen his power of resolve…

Every one of us wants to be successful. Though we move along different pathways of life, we are all in search of success. Each one wants to be successful in his or her sphere of activity.

A girl met me the other day and said, “During your absence from Pune, my wedding will take place. I want you to remember me on that day and pray for me, so that I may be successful in my new phase of life.”

Yet another day, I received a long distance call from a student in America. She was about to appear for her final examinations. “Do pray for me that I may be successful in my examinations and show brilliant results!” she said to me.

Everyone wants to be successful in life. But there are few who know the elements of success, the factors that go to build up success. Today, success is being confounded with making money, with amassing millions and billions. John D. Rockefeller was such a multimillionaire, to whom success did not bring happiness. His biographer tells us that by the time Rockefeller was 53, his life was a wreck. He was the richest man in the world and yet he was miserable! He was sick – physically, mentally and emotionally. All his millions could not make him happy.

Rockefeller turned a new leaf. He stopped accumulating wealth, and began to give away his wealth. Thus was born the Rockefeller Foundation, which sponsors and supports education and medical care throughout the world. John Rockefeller re-wrote and redefined the meaning of success for himself.

Some people equate success with power and position. A fond mother said to me that her son had achieved success in life at the young age of 23. He had been appointed as the
Managing Director of a large industrial concern. But a few days later, I heard that the young man was rude to his colleagues and unpopular with his workers; that he had a foul temper; and that he had fallen a victim to the two vices of gambling and drinking. Would you describe this young man as being successful?

Many of us tend to equate success with visible material acquisitions. There was a young woman who wore expensive clothes and diamond jewels; her handbag was stuffed with currency notes, she drove about in a Mercedes. Everyone agreed that she was indeed a woman who had achieved success in life. But when this young woman met me, she said to me with tear-filled eyes, “I am one of the unhappiest women on earth. My husband is constantly running after other women and pays no attention to me.” Would you call this young women successful?

Jay Gould, the American millionaire, amassed great wealth. But as he lay dying, he lamented, “I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth!” There is no happiness in wealth, but there is considerable wealth in the experience of happiness.

What is the definition of success? What is true success? I believe that true success is in some way or the other, related to inner happiness and peace of mind. It has been rightly said that if you lose your wealth, you lose but little. If you lose your health, you lose something. But, if you have lost your peace of mind, you have lost everything!

Outer things, external achievements, are not the yardsticks for success. Power, prestige, position, social influence, higher degrees awarded by universities – all these are outer things. They only touch the fringe of life, they don’t enter the depths within. A man may have all this, and yet he may be intellectually barren; he may be emotionally unbalanced, spiritually sterile. Would you call such a man successful?

What then, is success all about? I would define success as the ability to be happy and make others happy; the ability to love and be loved; the ability to remain in peaceful harmony with oneself, with those around you and with God’s cosmic laws.

Let me tell you the story of such a man, who achieved success in life.

You may have heard of Dunlop tyres! They were manufactured by George C. Dunlop. As a young man, Dunlop was far from wealthy. But he genuinely cared for an old woman, who was an invalid. She was confined to a wheel chair, and George would often propel the chair for her. He found she suffered severe jolting and discomfort, when the steel rims of the wheel chair moved on rough terrain. He wanted to do something that would reduce her discomfort.

In those days, a new material was much talked about. People were beginning to marvel over its flexibility and softness. It was nothing but rubber! Dunlop took strands of rubber and wound them around the steel rims of the wheel chair and found that this smoothened considerably, the movements of the wheel, giving a great deal of comfort to his invalid friend. Thus began the story of Dunlop tyres – first designed to bring comfort to an invalid’s life, they made George Dunlop a wealthy man many times over!

Supposing I were to ask you; what is it that you are seeking? You who come from different walks of life and you who belong to different spheres of human activity; some of you may be doctors, lawyers, engineers, office executives, businessmen or traders. What is it that you seek? I know all of you will tell me – we seek success in our own sphere. Every one of us wants to be successful. How may we achieve the success that we seek? What are the secrets of success?

One of the secrets of success is this – do not work for wages, work for the love of God, work for the love of suffering humanity, work for the love of work itself. Work then becomes a source of joy and delight.

When I visit big cities – perhaps, this disease has traveled to smaller cities too – I find people who are assigned any work always ask, “What do I get for this? What is there in it for me?”
People work only for wages today. They have forgotten what it is to work with joy to make their work a source of delight. That is why work has become a cause of so much boredom and so much frustration.

In the Bhagavad Gita, which is regarded by many as a Bible of humanity, the Lord expounding his doctrine of Karma says to Arjuna: “Remember, to work you have the right, but not to the fruit thereof.” You must work, you must put in your best efforts, you must not slacken your endeavours. But you must not be disappointed if you do not get the result you seek.

The result you must leave to the Lord. You must work for the sheer joy of work. Many of you will ask me, “But what about the wages? How can a man live without wages in this world of growing needs?” So let me tell you that wages and work go together. They are two sides of the same coin. Whether you work for wages or otherwise, wages are sure to fall into your lap. It is your attitude to work that counts. It is this attitude that makes of your life a success or otherwise. Work should be an expression of love. Those of us who work only for the sake of wages will never experience real joy. And when you love your work you will find it a joy forever. Therefore stop working simply for wages and start working for love.