Alain de Botton, the modern day philosopher who writes and talks about Happiness, Work, Love and Philosophy has something to say about what we call Success.
If you think, being successful or considered a failure are different notions in KL/Singapour compared to Paris or Miami, you would be off by a big margin. But what they have in common, is the idea of who is successful and what is considered successful, does follow a universal norm: the ideas with which individuals judge themselves success/failure are not their own.
Men and Women (boys and girls) are incredibly open to suggestions. As such, TV and advertising and media surround us and make us forget that you cannot be successful at everything and that your idea of success is maintained at the loss of (or failure in ) some other aspects of your life.
My dear doctor friend to the poor, Jim Kerr, once said: In our business, you can chase money or happiness, but never both.
So, the well known concepts of Balance among the American Indians and those of Raja Yoga, of the circle, which comprises of Work, Family, Social Responsibility and Spirituality. Raja Yoga advises people to devote one quarter of their time for Altruistic activities, which in the parlance of the American Indians, would mean our responsibility towards our fellow human beings.
This balanced life would give you less of a chance to omit or miss out on many wonderful things life has to offer, in which a “successful” person has become a “failure”: arts, literature, connections and relationshps, empathy, travel and voluntarism among others, the list can go on and on.
Perhaps that is why we never remember, nor does history, the rich people of the past centuries but certainly remember kind, gentle and helpful people of the past and still praise them.
The idea of what constitutes success is so judgmental in our societies that we are willing to forego many pleasures and satisfactions.
Ask yourself the question. If Money or making money is taken out of the equation for Success, on what other things or actions have you been “successful”? Would your many “friends” or relatives would be keeping you in adoration, if suddenly you become “unsuccessful” in their eyes.
A “successful” accountant who gave up a good salary to become a Yoga Teacher would be remembered a lot longer and far more fondly than another “success” who has an apartment along Park Avenue.
American Indians call the Spiritual Force in their lives, the Great Mystery, something that cannot be explained, that which will always remain non human, essential, transcendent and mysterious.
Many “successful” people of KL/Singapour or Paris/London/Miami have become so infatuated with themselves that they ignore the transcendent non human forces in our lives. The high rate of atheism (up to 60 per cent in some European countries and even more in that very unhappy country of the east, Japan). Is there a correlation between the onset of this concept of success, especially in the East and the proliferation of spas (expensive so that the successful people can pay for it) set in natural settings (always water, mountain, lush green nature in the background)? Are they looking for that non human element? Are they look for a quick fix for their lack of spirituality? A massage, an Ayurveda treatment, a work out with a new age Yogi?
But you identify with those who went to school with you, and you as a “successful” person would succumb to that evil social character: Judgement.
Both the American Indians and the philosophy of Raja Yoga teache you: Do not judge another person. Walk in their moccasins, would say the Elders. Accept the other and try not to mold them to your thinking, would say the Yogis.
Having grown up in a snobbish society (Melbourne, amidst the children of Immigrant Jews from Europe), we regaled the fact that egalitarian society was a whitewash for the middle class to feel good about the new Australians, aboriginals and the Asian hordes.. I was taught that snobbery is natural and that it is not a peculiarly British custom, now we know it is universal, from dirt poor country such as Jamaica to upper echelons of Paris society (at least they take pride in it). Who is a snob? Let us ask Alain de Botton.
A snob is a person who latches on to a single aspect of the other person, eg: You are an accountant and then creates a whole universe of your life and judges whether to spend time with you or conclude you are a waste of their precious time.
Let me ask you. Do you consider yourself a “Success”
Name four books that you read this past year?
Do you know where the following places are and something about them? Suva Pemba Baracoa Quiberon Horn Island Hanga Roa Boca Grande
What do you know about our Beloved Pablo
Pablo Neruda (Parral 1904-Santiago de Chile 1973)
So be a success according to your own idea of what success is, not what someone thinks success is, what the media tells you success is. Focus on that, your own idea, you author them, tailor them to your ambitions in life. It is bad enough not getting what you want, it is much worse, at the end of the journey to feel that this is not what you wanted any way .. all along
Bail out, while there is still a journey ahead of you.
Octavio Paz had famously said: at our death beds, most people wish they had married someone else and had marched to the sound of their own drums, had they been given the right guidance early in their lives.
Don't let this happen to you!
A glass of Chardonnay
4 june 2011
Continental Airlines 737-500 Seat 2 F
Houston to Miami
Sister Jackie will pick me up at the airport (she did)
Dr Sudah Yehuda has been homeless since march 1993 but can lay claim to House of Glass in Kuala Lumpur, House of Innocent Affections in Paris, House of sisterly affections in Miami, House of sensuous affections in Havana and the House of Spirits among the UmonHon indians