We enrich our lives through success and even failure; the latter teaches more, while the former gives a heady feeling! Life is a series of experiments and experiences; some are bitter ones but make the successful even sweeter to savor. Even the most powerful and the richest experience both, but they tend to take them in their strides and keep smiling; and at the same time learn the lessons along the way. Who can forget Rudyard Kipling’s famous lines – if you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same! Great words to imbibe from young and never to forget to maintain balance in our lives!
The older generation believed in bringing up the children the hard way, made them learn the lessons and not to take things for granted; but no more! Most parents pamper their kids, meeting their whims and fancies and end up spoiling them; in the end, they are unable to face the harsh realities later in life. Practically none can escape the potholes and pitfalls that present themselves in the most unexpected way; when the journey has been smooth, the rough ride is even more difficult to stomach. Some even avoid, at all costs, the difficult rides by not taking risks, and end-up just completing the race of life, without enjoying it. Of course, it also depends on the mental make-up of each; as some actively seek adventures and the high octane rewards that come with it!
Very few can maintain the equilibrium when experiencing great success and failures. Success can make us take things for granted and feel that we have special abilities and the failures result in feeling the whole world is against us; even that others are just lucky to get ahead. But scratch the surface, even the greatest face both success and failures, but are able to keep their equanimity. Mahatma Gandhi not only led the struggle for India’s independence, but also kept the flame of hope and creativity burning by producing great literature and words of wisdom. Nelson Mandela never harbored ill will against those who incarcerated him for a greater part of his productive life. On his release, his family life took a turn for worse, but he kept smiling and had great words of wisdom to inspire others! Despite obvious reverses in their popularity, President Obama, and earlier President Bush, keeps the spirits high; even able to laugh at his misfortunes, making self-deprecating jokes!
At a personal level, I have been judged by others and some, when they get ahead in fortunes, tend to drop me from their company! For me, it is good riddance, even serendipity, as I am left only with others who stick with me and mean well, even when I am faced with harsh times. I also get to spend more time in their company! At the end of the day, what matters is the time and good wishes; anyway, even the richest do not part with their money. The more they have, the more likely they suspect others’ intentions; obviously, a pot of honey attracts flies!
The beauty of life is happiness is not the preserve of the wealthy; it is just transient! Many experience bliss even while in dire straits financially. For me, I tend to take life philosophically, both the good and, thankfully, the bad times will not last! I try to follow Kipling’s words to the letter, subconsciously! My actions are the same as also the reactions; the storm clouds will pass. The most important balancing factor in life is the conscience, as my motto proclaims; the softest pillow is a clear conscience! Nobody will be left in the lurch for long; help arrives from the most unexpected quarters. Life is made worthwhile by our ability to adapt to circumstances; we can enjoy the comforts, but once in a while, better to be left alone with bare necessities to better reflect on the lives of the majority of less fortunate! Also, to realize who our real friends are! As a famous doctor reminisced; when people are staring at death, worldly possessions hardly matter, only the warmth of people around them. Let us all try to be the best that we can be in whatever field we have passion for, but at the same, never forget that we are part of society and none thrives in isolation. A life without human feelings and empathy for the less fortunate is plain empty. As I often state in my posts, heaven can be created by each in our own way within us and around us; why lapse into self-pity and condemn ourselves to a hell of our own making?