Born Unequal

…..we don’t define success ourselves. We accept the definition of success defined by someone else.

Success is a very tricky word, the definitions are abound; yet people don’t know how to be successful. And those who they perceive as successful are labeled as lucky. In fact, people look for success everywhere, but sadly finds none. So is there a secret of success which a few are privy to, or we don’t know where to look for? Well, the problem is we don’t define success ourselves. We accept the definition of success defined by someone else. Why do we have to agree to the definition of success defined by someone else? Why can’t we define success for ourselves, instead of heeding what the society believes in?

In 2001, a movie named ‘Enemy at the Gates’ was released. The film was loosely based on war stories told by Soviet sniper Vassili Zaitsev during the Battle of Stalingrad of the World War II when the Nazi Germans and Soviet Russians fought for every inch of land, literally! Towards the end of the movie one army officer Danilov tells Vassili that there will always be unequal societies, unequal people, even in the Soviet Russia:

I’ve been such a fool, Vassili. Man will always be man. There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there’d be nothing to envy your neighbor. But there’s always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don’t have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.

The ideology that all men are born equal, and hence, should lead an equal life has led humanity to a very strange position in the evolutionary history. We began to believe in set dogmas and make ourselves prisoners of definitions put by others. We gave up our independent thinking and became slaves of society. The manifestation of ideology that all people should be equal – no rich and no poor – is against the natural law. There are no animal societies that believe in equality. Look at the societies of lions, elephants, gorillas, bees, ants, etc. They don’t prescribe equality in any form. Because to be equal is to mean that the earth should be flat, no mountains and no oceans – just flat earth. What will happen then, if it would ever become the truth? There will be no life. Let me re-phrase; there shall be no life. It is the unevenness of the earth that supports life supporting biosphere. It is the strongest lion that mates with the lioness. There is no place for equitable distributions of reproductive opportunities. It’s a harsh world of survival of the fittest.

But, we humans are different. We believe that all the seven billion plus humanity needs a chance to survive. But, behind that fake concern lies the truth that humanity doesn’t care the daily death of thousands of people due to starvation. This is not a paradox, this is hypocrisy. This is the real world, and the truth. And yet, we are obsessed with the definition of success others have put before us. What chances the poor starving have featured ever in the definition of success? None! Yet, there are people who define success as working for poor.

Coming back to the first paragraph, let us see if there is any truth behind the notion that success is equal to luck. Well, yes, there is a link. But before that, we have to understand that there is no concept of all men being born equal. Men, like any other living organisms are born unequal. Warren Buffett, the most successful investor of all time, used to say that he had won the lottery of womb. He says that had he born in a poor, third world country, he might not have been so successful. But because he was born in the United States, where he found the best place on earth to become an investor, he became successful. And rich beyond imagination, as well. So, does that mean success is equal to luck? Nope! Because, to become successful one still needs to work hard and work smart. There are millions of Americans, yet why only one Warren Buffett? What Mr. Buffett refers to the lottery of womb means that men are never born equal!

So, what does it means to you and me? That we have lost the lottery of womb? Maybe or maybe not. It’s how you interpret your life. If you think like losing out in life, just because you were born in a poor country then you already are a loser and it would be wise not to expect anything grand from you. But, if you think that neither all men are born equal nor they live equal, then welcome to life! That’s the real living! It’s the life living up to your definitions – the way you define anything and everything. It’s the life where you define risk as safe and safe as monotony.

Human society is a society of paradoxes. There are companies that sell protein shakes that make you slim, and the same company sells another magic protein that helps you to gain weight. We love the sun in the winter, the same sun we curse during the blazing summer heat. We try to create equal societies and criticize the unequal societies and then realize that unequal societies are better. We try to look for enlightenment and then realize that what others know is not much different from what we know. So what is your definition of success?

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