What is SUCCESS?

But even before this question, a rather intriguing question passed my mind

What if I am already successful, but I don’t know it?

 

I have been basically torturing myself from the last one month or so regarding the issue of success. I was beating myself up, berating myself and criticizing myself in the meanest ways possible! At the basis of this was comparison to other people whom I perceive to be “successful”. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am a full-time musician. And for artists and musicians, success is even more hard to define. Would I call Justin Bieber/Lady Gaga successful? I don’t know. I don’t look up to them and so I actually I don’t care if they failed or not. But I’d say Sting is very successful. Not because of the money or the glamour, but because he does exactly what he wants to do, sings his own songs all around the world. That for me is success. Doing exactly what you want to do and getting paid for it! But everyone can’t be Sting. For example, do you think Sting’s guitar tech or his sound engineer go home and cry because they’ve failed to be on stage with a bass guitar singing a song they’ve written? NO! Because I’m sure they’re pretty satisfied being on Sting’s team and doing exactly what they gain satisfaction from…mixing sound, tuning his guitars etc.

I just thought of all this. From the time I picked up the guitar for the first time when I was 16, I knew that I wanted to play guitar all the time, make music, sing and have fun. And you know what? I’m doing JUST THAT. Isn’t that success? I think it IS! I have been so busy driving myself paranoid because I am not yet on my way to becoming Sting-like, that I haven’t had a moment to acknowledge my success. I am already successful! I have enough money right now that I can sit throughout the day reading books and watching movies and then going out for leisure walks, working out, practising different styles of music on my guitar, buy new equipment etc. That IS success!

Now I am not saying that I am satisfied and that I don’t want anymore money or exciting opportunities to play and perform. But that will happen joyfully only after I’ve fully acknowledged my first successful milestone: Surviving successfully as an independent musician. And I’ve done pretty well upto here…including releasing my debut music album last year.

I have always been relatively shy considering that I am a performer, an artist. I am not flashy or flamboyant even in my daily life. I’m not loud or attention-seeking in conversation- it’s just who I am. And as of today I feel that I won’t feel too bad if I don’t develop showman-ship like some of my idols or my contemporaries. That would be like going against the grain of who I am as a person. I am all for learning and growing and imbibing desirable qualities, but I feel foolish even to imagine being a loud, extroverted performer. From this point on, I have a few dreams and ideas about my future life which truly make me happy. And being ridiculously famous isn’t one of them. I have had the great fortune of being closely connected with a lot of high-achieving, super-famous individuals and friends. One of them gave me a very interesting and intelligent definition of fame. He said that fame only indicates how many people approve or disapprove of you. That’s it. There’s nothing beyond it. It makes so much sense. So for any kind of artists, it’s even more pertinent. Talking of Sting, I recently discovered that not everyone like him! It was shocking to find forums on the internet actually dissing him and his music. So basically a certain number of people dislike him+certain number of people like him=Sting’s fame. Approval+Disapproval. Likes+Dislikes. And I after realizing this, I am not getting along famously with idea of fame 🙂

I have anyway always composed, sung and played what I like. I almost never listen to people when it comes to musical or artistic choices. I can’t be any other way because this way makes me immensely happy. To listen to my own songs exactly the way I wanted them to sound is an unmatched feeling and so, I don’t think I will be affected much by the opinions of listeners.

I’d rather be true to my calling, true to my adventure, making pots and pots of money, travel around the world, soaking in culture, forging friendships, read a lot, attend performances, wake up at noon if I feel like it, build my body, acquire new skills and be happy in my personal life. That will be success for me. But success is not one event or one day or one situation…it’s an ongoing thing. It’s a process. Although I do realize now that I CANNOT get to success from a feeling of failure. Success leads to success. I’ve only failed in being successful at something that I didn’t want to be successful at to begin with! I am okay with that!

So what’s YOUR idea of success?

 

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