You tried, you failed, and you are a winner – What the world has got wrong about the chemistry between efforts and success

It was one lazy Sunday afternoon when I was sitting by the window, lost in my own thoughts. The silence was broken when my 20-year-old flat mate asked, “Do you think I will make 8 lakhs per annum once I qualify as an Actuary?”. The ensuing discussion revealed that he thought that this life is a definite game of input and output. If you do X, you will get Y. Not a surprising thought for a person of his age who hadn’t seen relatively much – the unpredictable way this life operates. I passed a big statement for a person of my age but who has read good number of self-help material and has keen interest in observing people sailing through their lives – “This life is unfair. Earlier you realize, better you will be able to handle the uncertainties that this life will throw at you.”.  

This young chap’s thinking is a representative of a bigger, much disastrous understanding of the chemistry between efforts and success. We believe that if the work that was put in achieving something doesn’t yield the expected fruition, it was a total waste of time and energy and that the world is going to end. What is more dangerous is that this belief leads us to avoid calculated risks, overlook creativity, do something which we absolutely hate and the biggest of all – FEAR FAILURE.

Losers become Winners!

This subject has been close to my heart because of the impact that it has on the youth’s mentality but never wrote anything about it until I watched the Bollywood movie ‘Chhichhore’. This is not a spoiler for those who haven’t watched the movie nor a review. It is a story of Anni, a young guy and his friends who want to break away from the tag LOSERS (as the entire college calls them) by attempting to win the annual sports championship. They have been underdogs and considered as non-competition for the coveted league. They try everything under the sun to win but lose. They think that they have failed but the spectators and the competitors applaud for their efforts and they are no longer called LOSERS.  Anni is narrating this story to his son who attempts suicide because of having failed in an entrance test and is unable to cope up with the failure despite trying his best.  This movie glorifies the hard work and commitment made to achieve success than success itself. This is the exact thing that this world needs to do.

It is not startling (you guys will hate me after reading this) that majority of us will not be able to achieve the biggest of dreams that we ever had. The numbers say it that most of us will live an ordinary life. Not all engineers will startup and raise billions of dollars of funding or work at Microsoft. Not all B-School grads will become consultants at the top consulting firms and solve the most complex business problems. Not all creative folks will become Justin Biebers, BTS, Alia Bhatts or the likes. Not everyone will find the love of their life. We will face bouts of bad mental and physical health. Some of us will be financially strained and not be able to live the luxurious life that we always dreamt of while some will have lots of money but meagre time to spend that money and moments of happiness with their loved ones. This means that most of us will experience more failures than successes in our lives. Even those who become big names will undergo brutal failure time and again before they make it the top.

We have misunderstood the definition of success and have glorified success in the manner which makes the efforts made to achieve success feel very little. Social media is flooded with stories of success. Movies contribute their fair share of magnetizing eyeballs to people who have achieved it. Yes, they do appreciate the struggle in achieving the success, but I have rarely watched any movie which ends with the pivotal character still having failed.  No wonder people are resistant of an ending which is unhappy. They want the hero to win because their conscious doesn’t allow him to be called a HERO if he fails. He is a LOSER for them.

Watch this video by NAS DAILY about failure!

I am not against celebrating success. Successful people deserve their stories to be shared and appreciated but what equally needs to go viral are the stories of having tried and still failed. Stories of aftermath of having failed and how beautifully the person has handled the failure, got up again and continued striving for the goal. Inadvertently in worshiping success, we are ignoring most of the society who tried but couldn’t be at the forefront of success.

The true essence of life lies in standing in front of the mirror and telling yourself that it is ok, you tried your best and the next morning you are going to wake up and keep trying your best. Detachment from expectations of success is most crucial to live a happy life. And isn’t happiness the definition of success for all of us. Believe me, you will have more regrets of not having put in the best of your efforts than not having achieved the outcome.

Keep trying – Parents need to inculcate this culture in their sons and daughters, friends need to encourage this, and teachers need to educate kids to never get bogged down by failure.  We need to raise a generation that is not fascinated by how good a person looks on Instagram but with what he eats and exercises to look so attractive (excuse the filters please!). I feel proud of myself of having tried irrespective of achievement of the goal.

The kid in the movie asks his dad “Despite of trying so hard, you guys failed. Did you feel like killing yourself?”. The father including the friends replies “No”. Not all of us face the failure so gracefully.

As a millennial trying to figure out the purpose of life, I am confident that many of us in our late twenties would have started giving up on the dreams that we once held so close to our heart. We are giving up on our MBA dreams. Some of us no longer want to pursue music because of the financial insecurity that comes with it. We no longer paint because there isn’t enough time. Why? Because we never explored because of the fear of failure or even if we tried, we quit too soon because we felt disgusting of having failed, let alone others tell you this. These experiences should be considered as learning.

Don’t be dead human due to fear of failure. Make sure you don’t quit. You never know that an extra mile can help you reach our goal.

Celebrate failure

Do I know myself?

This December, I will be 25 years old

and people will ask me if I have figured it all.

5 shots down, thumping my chest, I will say –

This man here will find a job with a fat pay,

marry the most beautiful girl, somehow, someday.

Nothing’s going to stop me from the traveling the world, come what may,

making a parallel career, writing best-selling books, this man going to be successful someday.

As the spirit subsided and my heart and brain collided,

I asked myself a question “Dude, you have a sight of what you said last night?”

There came with the December breeze,

the question, which was unheeded for years, Oh Jeez!

DO I REALLY KNOW MYSELF?

A 17 years old me had once fought 5 people beating a child,

stealing food to satiate his hunger gone wild.

And today, I walk away ignoring a man beating his wife,

right there in front of my eyes.

Teaching at a local NGO

There are days when I feel I should travel the world, party like a madman on the beautiful beaches

or climb to the top of a mountain and shout “This is life, bitches!”

Live while we are young!

But at times, I prefer returning from office, devour the same food for the thousandth time,

Binge watch a web-series or read a book unperturbed by my gradually increasing waistline.

This myriad of thoughts has started hurting my heart more than my brain

and I plan to quit until my strong brain says, “If not now, when?”

I dream of a girl full of life and believe in what they say – Love a girl for her heart,

But not getting fascinated by a woman for her curvy case and pretty face is damn too hard.

Am content with the money that comes with a nine to five and when my mum says with teary eyes “You have made us proud”,

But never goes a day when I don’t dream of performing on the stage and hearing those three magical words – “We love you” from the crowd.

The Singer in me craves to come out!

I have done it all – Ignoring phone calls, unread messages and cold conversations if I end up talking,

to writing warm texts and pleading people to go for drinks and dancing.

I earlier believed that for all these questions, time will give the answer,

But time has fled, leaving with baffling thoughts more in number.

It pumps me up – the fast paced, dynamic city life, me overcoming competition and emerging victorious,

While my heart longs for a sleep in my mother’s lap and conversations with my Nani back in town, when she connects everything to anything religious.

A day comes when I get inspired to live a healthy lifestyle – waking up at 5 am and consuming stuff for a healthy mind and body,

Oh! But another late night at a club, I am high on music and junk, friends finding it difficult to hear when I say – “You got only one life, buddy!”

I wonder if I will ever understand the real me and then a thought crosses my mind that everyone is living a life with multiple personalities. I have made peace with the fact that I might not get an answer till my last breath and that death will end it all. I have too much to explore and too less a time.

DO I KNOW MYSELF? – I am what people think I am. I am a wonderful friend to some and an enemy to avoid for few. I am a warm person and a heartless man. I am life of the party and an inconsiderate bore. Everything of this is true because I have been like this to them, in those situations because I was in full clutch of the circumstances. This is arguably human.

Keep getting puzzled like this, on rainy days or on silent nights but don’t bother to respond as there might not be an answer. Keep knowing the NEW YOU which life gives you, keep exploring as journey matters more than the destination.

Dear Readers, request you to let me know your similar experiences in the comments. This blog post is a culmination of my personal experience and observation of people around me. We would be excited to hear about the conflicts that you faced in life! It will help put others at ease who are facing a similar dilemma. Thanks! 



A tale of Many Talents and a Ruined Life

One of my school seniors is rare of the men found on earth. No, he wasn’t born with an extra finger or has blue eyes or heart on the right side but he has all the talents that would make extremely competitive Indian parents say “Our son is the best”.

It is not that he has developed those talents by honing , he was just born with those. And if that is not enough, he is extremely good looking. Lucky ass!! He would be sleeping half an hour before and when called to perform on stage, would sing like that can make any music star run for his money. He would smoke up till 4 am, have the pleasure of an early morning sex and appear for a test at 8 am and would still top the class. He would go to a dance class and do better than the choreographer. He would roll the ball in the basket as if he was trained in the womb. He would trade on the stock markets and make more money than a professional trader.  Sigh!

He dropped out of India’s best Business School because he wanted to explore fashion designing but ultimately is stuck in the mundane 9 to 5 job. He broke-up with the most gorgeous and extremely smart girl on the campus and is now married with a girl of his parents’ choice. He would call off a travel plan to Bali last minute because he would have read an article about Vietnam, claiming to be a better visit than Bali. He now thinks of doing something in the Digital Marketing space which he believes is ripe for growth and rewarding as well.

Most often than not, we confuse ‘doing something’ with hustling. Staying up all night without a plan is not hustling. Waking up before the dawn without a vision is not hustling. Doing something with a result-orientation in mind is what I call ‘hustling’

Being a person adequately exposed to the internet and hence to the globe, looking at how top people in a particular skill become what they become and a close witness to the life that penned out for my senior, I can say he could have been a top musician or a great dancer or a skilled basketball player or one of those start-up guys featuring in Forbes 30 under 30. He could have been better had he just PERSISTED. Followed what he got into and persisted with that rather than just hopping like a fucking Kangaroo. I am not denying the importance of exploring new avenues for growth, to find things that really brings out the real YOU or doing that really makes you happy. But after a certain length of journey, there needs to come a sign saying “Stop, you have arrived at your destination, enjoy the place and find out the best that this place has to offer”.  Otherwise, life would be a hopeless case of juggling and ultimately coming to a realization that you did nothing that could have made you one of the best at it.

JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel was rejected 12 times. It is almost an established truth that financial investments reap exceptional returns when given adequate holding time frame. And the world is full of examples of people who kept on working on the things that they liked despite of being told that they can’t do it. PERSEVERANCE is the reason that they succeeded.

And nothing makes more sense to me than these lines:Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Why are you unhappy? – The reason is you and not you!

My friend called me during lunch to deliver the happy news of his promotion and a staggering 100% variable pay for his outstanding performance at work. Naturally, he was elated and couldn’t resist discussing the exotic vacation that he would plan, his dream car that he would buy and so on. I asked for a grand party and he readily agreed.

Few hours later, I receive a call again from him, canning the party, vacation and the car. “Wait, what? Why brother. What happened?” I asked. Apparently, one of his colleagues had received a promotion and a 150% variable pay. My friend could still plan that vacation and the car with the amount of pay he had received but suddenly the inclination to do that was gone. Just because somebody else had received something better, something more than him which was eating him away from inside.

This instance highlights what is happening with most of us. I was and still am a victim. Is this a new phenomenon? No, it used to happen with the older generations as well but has been highly aggravated because of we being the ‘Twitter for breakfast, Facebook for lunch and Instagram for dinner’ generation.

I am usually contented until I come across someone or something and start the futile, foolish and fuck all (yeah, I am really angry!) exercise of comparing myself.

If I travel to Bali, then there would be someone Taking a pill in Ibiza.

If I run a mile in 7.40 minutes, then there would be a 9 to 5- working-Usain Bolt with a 5.45.

If I have 1K followers on Instagram, there would be a friend having a 3K.

If I go out on 3 dates in a month, there would be someone spending a gala time with more dates than that. So you see, I can instigate my inferior complexity by almost anything silly. Sounds sick but it’s not only me, it’s you, you and yes, you as well.

Why are you unhappy? – The reason is you and not you!

Why I say the reason is you – because you are letting these irrelevant thoughts make you feel little in front of others.

And why not you – because it is not your inability to do a certain thing better than others which is responsible for this deep sense of unhappiness. My friend was extremely joyous with his appraisal numbers which meant he did work according to his expectation. He regrets knowing the numbers of his colleague. Now, what’s the outcome if we don’t discuss the solution to this nasty problem. I remember a very popular quote on human mind by John Milton “The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” And as they say, “It’s all in your mind”.  So the solution is to control our mind which isn’t easy.  This is a post that I had written on my Facebook wall when I had faced a similar instance turning my joys to sorrows which is quite relevant in this context –

Habit of comparison + Intention to bring about a positive change = Level of greatness

Look at the positive side of everyone. Look at what makes you appreciate someone and bring about that positive change. Or if that isn’t happening, as Tom Bilyeu says “Competing against others can be awesome in short bursts, but if you focus your attention outward for too long it will rob you of all of your joy, for there is always someone better. If, however, you compete against yourself, you can only win. Every time you beat your previous best you have just grown more powerful – all of your energies are on improvement instead of jealousy. And over the long run, that’s how you become great”.

Careless childhood or frantic youth? – My answer to the unanswerable

I see this post on my Instagram feed and immediately sends it to my brother. Being an over thinker, I am really made to think that those days were the best. No worries, no insecurities and everything taken care of by my parents.  My brother who looks at everything in life through a practical eye writes back “Yeah bro, I so miss those days. Remember, we used to go to school on bicycles and got chased by a dog who sat in the till the conclusion of the morning assembly. Lol. But the things are still good, just the pattern has changed. LYL because YOLO :P”. I goggled the ‘LYL’, the exercise which made me feel like a 50 years old uncle when I am at the peak of my Jawani. By the way, LYL stands for ‘Live Your Life’ in the mindfucking – constantly changing – urban dictionary – of the coolest kids ever.

It hit me hard. He had given an open ended yet precise answer to my forward drenched in the syrup of emotions and it somehow made sense. Within a fraction of seconds, I am on Instagram and start writing:

Love is a complicated subject. But this complicated subject finds solution in doing the smallest of things for each other.

No phase of the life is better that the other. How you make most of it determines which one will contribute largest to the dreams that you want to achieve. Its futile to get into a comparison and ruin the current. I have been an observer of many conversations in which people hold only one regret – “Vo bhi kya din the yaar. Life ke lag gaye he ab to”. Have I also done that? Yes, and I usually cover it saying, “This quarter life crisis, no”.

My past time before writing this blog was to crib about how I so miss my dear childhood. I would call up my brother or meet my friends and just talk about the past – that how reckless our school days were, that we needed not to fuck our minds with taxes, investments and relationships. Then on one call (possibly after tired of the same shit that bled his ears for a long time), my brother turned my mind towards the paucity of funds that we had to pursue our hobbies, the small fights my parents had, those dreaded exams which made me go to the loo thrice in the morning, when I couldn’t bowl a single ball properly, constant nagging by my classmates on being short, school mates laughing on my small bicycle, teachers scolding me for wearing dirty school uniform or loose socks and the list goes on.

Fast forward now – I have a 7-figure annual salary, can travel to the destinations I want, buy good clothes and live a life of a relatively good financial status in India.

So the universal truth that ‘Nothing comes perfect in life’ applies here too. Our childhood was fun but not bountiful and our youth has its own share of pros and cons. So, the mantra to live a life of no regrets is to channelize energy towards the good and live to the fullest rather than losing sleep over matters that may not last another dawn.

Do you remember the pain of playing cricket barefoot or cherish these memories of your childhood buddies? See, I said this – sorrows last for a brief period while you are enduring them but the memories of happiness get engraved for the lifetime. After all, LYL because YOLO!!

Truth and Talisman by Tejan – A treasure of Ponder over Pot ideas

Nothing in this world is black or white. Everything is grey. When I used to believe in Talisman, life hit me hard with reality. And when I was obsessed with being practical, wonders happened, reinstilling my faith in magic
   -  Tejan
Nothing in this world is black or white. Everything is grey. When I used to believe in Talisman, life hit me hard with reality. And when I was obsessed with being practical, wonders happened, re-instilling my faith in magic
– Tejan

I sometimes abruptly wake up at night to a dream in which it is dark and I am drowning in the sea. Also today, I envy while at the same time look up to a person who is playing guitar and singing songs, leaving the audience spellbound. When I was in school, I had lot of time and energy to enroll in a swimming or a guitar class but considered it to be a waste of money and would fear that it would distract me from studies because all I knew then was that studies would lead me to a life full of happiness (happiness at that time was loads of money for me). When I was studying for Chartered Accountancy, I started reading The Economic Times. Whenever I would come across any new appointments of any board member in a company, I was tempted to check whether he was a CA. Then I would imagine myself achieving the same feat without even thinking once what else is required to be professionally successful, apart from that coveted qualification.

Was it stupid on my part to think that way? No, because with the resources and guidance that I had, it was almost impossible to have a broadened thought process. Yes, because I never cared to find a mentor who could help me understand what it takes to lead a happy life – is it just money or a combination of various factors – a caring partner, loving parents, few besties who are always by your side, a burning desire to pursue your passion or bring about a change in the world. I have this rock solid feeling that there are people like me who reciprocate this feeling. But this doesn’t make us unhappy. We are learning, and this process of self-improvement might be delayed but has not stopped and we are enjoying every second of this journey.

So, I receive calls from parents of my juniors from school or college for career advice that I can offer. Frequently, my colleagues and friends discuss with me their career plans. Sometimes, close friends even share about what is going wrong in their relationships. Does it mean that this world has run out of decent education, career or relationship counselors (because for a matter of fact, I haven’t done anything extraordinary in my life except for affording a rented apartment in Andheri, taking a rick everyday to work and losing money in stock markets and still go partying every Friday, lol).  It is just that it is more comfortable and assuring to hear from a person who has practically and literally treaded the same path or who has seen things happening so close that mirrors his/her actual life circumstances.

And here I conclude that I would be more interested in listening to an advice from a person who has walked the same road, has dealt with life situations insanely like me; it is not necessary that he/she completed that journey and have achieved a legendary status; he can still be walking that path and doing it right. That is where I need my advice to come from because I seriously don’t give a single fuck to how BTS became the No 1 Boy Band in the world but if you tell me how did Jungkook learn those exceptional dancing skills or Jimin train to sing high notes or RM/ Suga write those heart melting lyrics, I am all ears!!


“I would tell myself these two words: ‘Don’t worry.’ I was petrified all the time — scared I couldn’t find a decent job, worried I’d never be able to save money, scared that I would always be living in my childhood room, unsure if I’d ever be able to buy a house, a car, or even the cool new thing that everyone was talking about. Sure, it’s okay to worry, Mr. 25-year-old self, but don’t let it take over your life — I promise you’ll regret it.” –Matthew Jussim

So now what? We must deal with those small everyday steps that someone in the coming generations would call a giant leap of faith. The beauty of those small steps is that you take those, you don’t see any value accretion instantly but after few years when you evaluate, you see how far you have come.

Let me come to the point – in this series of blog posts you will find everything and anything (ehhh!) – a book summary (not of the Fifty Shades of Grey kinds), narration of one of my daydreams, an advice on professional growth, a soul touching conversation with someone (just soul guys!) , a travel experience (I mean Goa here!), a jibe on human behavior or a thought in the solitary environment of my bathroom. The common thread that will bind these diverse experiences is that each will have some learning to offer. So GET SET GO for this exciting journey of fun and learning!!