Fulfillment And Unfulfillment.

“No one achieves complete success in life but, even partial fulfilment is attained by but, a few. Unfulfilment is the normal condition of man.” ~ Irawati Karve.

This post has been inspired by Ekoshapu’s post on Reunion. Since I attend reunions regularly, what the poem says resonates with me.

The heartthrob of the school,

is a man grim and somber.

That lanky little girl,

is now a weightlifter.

The topper of the class,

is a happy homemaker.

Back bencher of the lot,

is an entrepreneur.

The flamboyant fashionista,

became a dreaded lawyer.

Oft ignored average Joe,

turned a well known writer.

The one who failed math paper,

is a fashion designer,

and one who often got to stand outside the class,

is a respected army officer.

The reunion taught me how,

people come with many layers,

and told me why we should,

never judge a book by its cover…

Let’s remember this every time we step into our classes;

Each child is a potential success story!! Lets help them write it

On reflecting on the topic, it also occurred to me that in these reunions, one rarely comes across someone talking about how s/he has failed whereas irrespective of whether one came from a background of privilege and money or the absence of it, the successes inevitably talked about it and maintained that they are self made successes. As a corollary, I suppose that the failures are also self made failures but, they are unwilling to admit it. They will blame everything possible other than themselves for their failures. Usually, the government, competition or often, bankers.

To reinforce this trend of thought, I have recently had to interact with two young friends of both categories and I dug up the Nightingale quote for the latter. He was quite stunned that it had not occurred to him and we spent quite a long time discussing how things could have been different had he done somethings differently or not done somethings at all. Since he is quite a determined sort, he has perhaps understood the situation and will try again.

To the former, it was easier to point out the advantages that he had to start with before he became an entrepreneur to deflate his ego a bit and give some credit to his parents and background. Subsequently, his father rang me up to thank me for doing that! I must have done something right for the news to reach the father!

Which brings me to the second quote on unfulfilment being the norm for most of us.  I think that Irawati Karve has hit the nail on the head but, am willing to be corrected by any of my reader/s who may think otherwise.

Success and Failure.

If you see the exchange of comments on my last post, you would see the thrust of my argument that what needs to be done is to use the word ‘success’ in a particular context.

Let us see the above three cases. The first friend has indeed achieved a great deal of success in the areas of money, business leadership and status.

The second friend achieved a great deal of success in national and international academic circles. He also achieved quite a bit of fame as an accomplished teacher whose students achieved great successes as well.

I succeeded in my own way in employment, consultancy and retirement on my terms.

All three of us recently met and discussed precisely this subject and came to the conclusion that on balance we have each succeeded in more aspects of our lives than failed. Failures however have been very much part of our lives and here again, it is a matter of using the word ‘failure’ in an appropriate context.

Generalizing on the meaning of some highly subjective words like these two, can create complications in understanding the message that is being conveyed. Apart from the context, another area of importance is the communicator’s point of view that can affect perceptions.

Can you think of other words that can cause these kinds of problems? Would you like to share them here?