Does Success Lead To Crises?

Kashish Kalwani

There are several types of crises. There is the mid-life crisis around your fifties; a quarter life crisis where young adults (like me) find themselves overwhelmed at a juncture in their mid-twenties. And in more recent times, the year 2020 is the year of crisis where every day that passes, brings with it an uneasiness of the future for almost all human beings.

I also like to call my sister a ‘cri-sis’ whenever she cries!

Despite her own troubling issues, my little sister helped me deal with my supposed quarter life crisis. Naturally, as an elder sister, the responsibility of helping her out with schoolwork was on me. After a lot of overthinking and nervousness, she decided to participate in an online debating competition at her school, the first of its own kind. The proposition for the debate was – ‘Success makes failure of a man’.

After several hours of research, (while my sister was working on her math homework) I came to realize the many ways success is understood and quantified, as was apparent in these headlines.

‘Make your bed to change the world! Only planners achieve success at the end of the day!’
‘A college dropout is now a billionaire!’
‘A boy is accepted into Stanford after writing #BlackLivesMatter a hundred times in his essay.’
‘Rejected by 12 publishers, she went on to be one of the most successful writers.’
‘Shot for going to school, is now a Nobel Peace Prize Winner.’

Suggested Read: Coping Crisis through heartfulness meditation

It came to me how easily we like to focus on the outcomes of a successful endeavor. These people are anomalies. It would be a mistake to assume that dropping out from college would make one a billionaire or that risking your personal life is a necessity for being successful in life. This isn’t success, this is survivorship bias.

I reflected on my desires to be successful by the age of fifteen. I always felt overwhelmed at my definition of success, which led me to plan my every move. I assumed that I wasn’t successful if I wasn’t a member of some extracurricular club at my college or wasn’t learning a foreign language. I scared myself thinking that I wasn’t successful if I did not volunteer at non-profits and at the same time wasn’t maintaining my GPA or had an active social life. It just seemed never ending!

Being mindful got me to witness my actions and choices in a broader perspective. I now get to settle down comfortably at my home and focus on my meditation practice. This pandemic has brought with a much-needed period of rest and pause. I get to spend time with my family before I move to a whole new continent and settle myself in a new culture and a new family. I am getting to know my fiancé better and both of us are working together to plan a new beginning for us. I get to be sensitive towards my health. I get to focus on reaching out to people and share Heartfulness. I get to do silly things with my little sister and even annoy her. The crisis of being successful has been successfully averted. The journey matters more.

My sister stood first in the debate competition, by the way.