Failure, Fear and Secret of Success!

A recent discussion with a reader. His problem: he had faced lots of setbacks in life – failures and unfortunate incidents. It made him so fearful and depressed. While talking to him, I understood that a usual approach won’t help him. He asked me: “How do you manage failures in life? How did you react to the failures?”

“I never had any failures in my life…” I replied.

“That’s not true. Everybody will fail…Even the most successful man will.”

“That’s your perception. But how can I answer a question that is beyond my knowledge and experience?”

“If you are successful in everything, you should have special blessings of the god…that’s not normal…”

“You mean to say, success is not normal. But failure is!”

“Yes…people fail in life”

“If you know this truth, then why are you worried about failures?” I asked.

He dodged the question and asked: “Are you sure you never faced any failure?”

“Never ever…” I repeated.

“Why is it like that?”

“To fail in something, you need to define success. I have not YET defined success. So how will I fail?”

“That’s a technical or theoretical reason. When your wishes are not met, it is called failure…”

“All my wishes are met. In fact, all wishes are met with pretty 100% bonus too…” I said.

“That’s not possible! Some wishes are impossible to meet.”

“If you know something is not possible, why are you wishing for it? Isn’t it idiotic? I may have wished for possible things only. Hence all my wishes were met.”

“Uday, you confuse me. Let me ask you a straight question. What’s the secret of your success?”

“Life is not a competitive item for me to succeed or fail. Life is just an experience. I experience the experience of that experience rather than classifying or judging it into success or failure.”

“Please don’t complicate with philosophy…”

“I am not a philosopher. I don’t want to pollute my life with philosophy. Life is a simple thing for an average layman like me. It’s you, who complicates life and seeks answers from others. You are already conditioned with those definitions of success and failure then approach others for solutions. You are confused and complicated yourself.”

“Uday, but everybody will have aim or goal in life – a wish to be something or somebody.”

“Yes, people can have goals and wishes. But it depends upon person to person. A starving person will wish for one time food. An over-weight person will wish to avoid at least one time food. There is no permanent or universal wish. What’s more, it keeps on changing. I have had many temporary wishes – for instance, I want to drink a tea now. If my wish is not met, I take it that it is not met, so what? Sky won’t fall down…”

“But when you dedicate yourself to a goal, you work earnestly for that, live a life for that and then, if it is not met? Won’t you become dejected? Depressed? Down?”

“You are working for something with dedication, determination and devotion. If you are really happy about what you do, then why are you worried about the result? You already had the happiness in doing what you do, right?”

“I didn’t understand…”

“Is it easy to cross that MG Road? Can you explain why?”

“Yeah, it is very tough. Nobody follows any traffic rules. You have to be very careful and cautious. You need lot of luck to reach the other side. Anything can happen to you due to loose drivers or un-checked vehicle breaking system or pollution…If you are not very very careful, you may not even reach the other side.”

“You know that. So you take extra precaution to reach the destination. Your right is confined (restricted) in taking precaution while crossing the road. Reaching the other side is not really in your hand…There are many variables before reaching your goal”

“That’s true…”

“In life also, working towards to something (a wish or aim or destination) is in your hand. You can do it with utmost devotion, determination and dedication. You can take necessary precaution and care. But you can’t be assured that you will get or achieve that goal.”

Suddenly he said: “Yes, I understand…”

“That means you have the right only for the karma you do. And you ABSOLUTELY don’t have any right over the result. So, what’s the point in worrying about it?”

“Yes – you have a point here. A very very valid point…”

“It’s not my point. One of my ancestors told us this point some 5000 years ago. His name was Krishna. His Sanskrit verse about this is very popular. It is available in Bhagavad Gita. The verse starts with ‘Karmanye V-adhikaraste Ma-Phaleshu Kadachana’ …. means your adhikara (right) is confined only to the Karma, not to the result. Result is just an outcome of Karma.”

No matter how many times you break its threads, a spider will weave its web again and again. Its focus is weaving cobweb, its Karma. It doesn’t evaluate if it is succesful or failure in its Karma. We have to take a cue from the spider, I told him: “Get up and work. Again and again. The existence has at least provided you with healthy body. Now, don’t pollute your mind with ridiculous thought of failure.”
This reader had revealed to me about his aim – it appeared very complicated and he was confused about it. His aim was not simple and clear. So I said: “You don’t have clarity. You are complicating your wishes. You have multiple wishes combined in to one. It is difficult to dedicate and devote to multiple karma at the same time, at least for me”

“Can you explain that?”

“I had only one wish in my childhood- I wanted to be a writer. I worked towards that…”

“But did you make money out of it?”

“This is what I call complicated. My wish was only to be a writer. Making money should be treated as another wish. If my wish was to make money, I would have clearly focused on that particular wish. I have been a financial and investment journalist for the last 20 years. I had first-hand access to investment tips before we publish it for the public. So, it would have been very easy to make money. But I didn’t invest a single penny. Why? That was just not my wish.”

“But you had got name and fame from being a writer.”

“I don’t know. If somebody knows me, it is just a by-product of the karma. When you say, you want to be a famous writer, there are two wishes. Hence it lacks focus. Here again, if I wanted name or fame, I would have chosen another path. I could have done it, given my years of experience in the international markets? But I didn’t complicate my wish. I am clear and to the point. Tomorrow, if I develop any other wish, I will leave this one, and go for it.”

“Hmm. It is clear now. I was not very sure…But what about the fear factor….how can we overcome fear?”

“Fear ONLY comes from ego. Everyone has ego. So fear is a normal thing.”

“How did you overcome your fear?”

“Who said I had overcome? I still have many temporary fears…”

“Uday – I appreciate your honesty. People won’t admit it. I meant to ask, how did you manage your fear?”

“Ah, that’s a good question. When I feel fearful I think about the real life…”

“What’s that?”

“Simple. I said I see my life as an experience. It is an experience happens between the date of birth (DOB) and date of death (DOD). It has to be experienced rather than interpreting, analyzing and judging with our conditioned mind. So I don’t complicate my life with philosophy. The problem starts when you complicate your life based on wrong inputs provided by somebody.”

“So you are not worried about death or what will happen after that?”

“I don’t even know my DOD. I will never know. So what’s the point in worrying? Nobody knows what happens after death. We only have bed time stories, wishful thinking and fallacies (in the name of religions and spirituality) about what happens after death. Nothing is proved. So there is no point in worrying about something that we don’t know. Live with what you know rather than worrying about something nobody knows…”

He closed his eyes for some time. And said: “Hmm. Good to hear. But not a practical thing – I am still feeling fearful, Uday…”

“You are identifying with yourself. This identity or manifestation is known as ego. It makes you think about yourself only. So stop identifying with the manifestation.”

“How to stop identification with myself”

“Go to a beach. Look at the waves in the ocean. A water drop in the wave can pop up for a second before falling back to the ocean. This water drop is the “I”. It has a life-expectancy of a split of a second. Probably, 80 milliseconds. The water drop gives itself a name and feel that “I am Mr.Waterdrop” – that is identification. That’s ego. The identification lasts till it gets dissolved into ocean. Similarly, a human being (after identification of approx. 80 years) will dissolve into the cosmos. So, instead of feeling this temporary “I” why can’t you realize that you are the entire cosmos?”

He thought for a while and said: “That’s good. I feel better. Yes, that thought gives me some power…”
he smiled and asked: “Can I say I am the cosmos? Really? Just like a water drop in the ocean, I just sprang out of cosmos before dissolving into that. That is a wonderful feeling – yes, our fear will disappear. That’s a great way of thinking…Thank you so much for this modern approach…”

“Oh, that’s an age-old approach. You have to thank our ancestors who advised us to think like that. 7000 years ago they said “Aham Brahmasmi” – I am the Brahmam. I am the cosmos. They realized the ultimate truth. They have expanded and spread their consciousness in the entire cosmos. That will make a human being truly fearless. Nothing else can give you such a fearless state and absolute happiness.”

“One more question Uday, what’s the easiest way to stop ego?”

“The easiest way to overcome ego is taking care for people and life around you…You will be happy.”

Udaylal Pai
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2 Responses

  1. Jagadish S Indi. says:


    I bow to the divine in you.

  2. Vidushi says:

    Thank you uday ji, this blog answered my questions as well.looking forward to seeking answer to this question “how do I know what is the purpose of my existence?”

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