The Range of Achievement
Between the extreme of an individual who has fully and perfectly realised all he had conceived and that of one who has been incapable of realising anything at all, there is, of course, an almost unlimited range of intermediate cases; this range is remarkably complex, because not only is there a difference in the degree of realisation of the ideal, but there is also a difference between the varied qualities of the ideal itself. There are ambitions which pursue mere personal interests, material, sentimental or intellectual, others which have more general, more collective or higher aims, and yet others which are superhuman, so to say, and strive to scale the peaks that open on the splendours of eternal Truth, eternal Consciousness and eternal Peace. It is easy to understand that the power of one’s effort and renunciation must be commensurate with the breadth and height of the goal one has chosen.
There are innumerable categories of “successful” people; these categories are determined by the greater or lesser breadth, nobility, complexity, purity and luminosity of their ideal. One may “succeed” as a rag-picker or “succeed” as master of the world or even as a perfect ascetic; in all three cases, although on very different levels, it is one’s more or less integral and extensive self-mastery which makes the “success” possible.
On the other hand, there is only one way of being a “failure”; and that happens to the greatest, to the most sovereign intelligence, as well as to the smallest, the most limited, to all those who are unable to subordinate the sensation of the present moment to the ideal they wish to achieve, but without having the strength to take up the path-identical for all in nature if not in extent and complexity-that leads to this achievement.
The Factors of Success
At any level, from the most modest to the most transcendent, one rarely finds a perfect balance between the sum of self-control, the power of sacrifice available to the individual who has chosen a goal, and the sum of renunciations of every kind and nature which the goal requires.
When the constitution of an individual permits this perfect balance, then his earthly existence yields its utmost possible result.
As soon as you think that you have succeeded in a certain thing, the adverse forces make it a point to attack and spoil it. Moreover, when you think of success, you relax your aspiration and the slightest relaxation is sufficient to spoil the game. The best thing is not to think of it but to go on doing your duty. But sometimes when you go on thinking of your shortcomings and failures and you get depressed, then you have to put the success before your nose and say, “Look at this.”
So long as one insist on success, one is doing the work partly at least for the ego; difficulties and outward failures come to warn one that it is so and to bring complete equality. This does not mean that the power of victory is not to be aquired, but it is not the success in the immediate work that is all important; it is the power to receive and transmit a greater and greater correct vision and inner Force that has to be developed and this must be done quite coooly and patiently without being elated or disturbed by immediate victory or failure.
This is the right inner attitude of equality – to remain unmoved whatever may outwardly happen. But what is needed for sucsess in the outward field (if you do not use human means, diplomacy or tactics) is the power to transmit calmly a Force that can change men’s attitude and the circumstances and make any outward action at once the right thing to do and effective.
Power of success: the power of those who know how to continue their effort.
One must never try for the sake of succeeding.
Success depends entirely on the sincerity.
To judge from appearances and apparent success is precisely an act of complete ignorance. Even for the most hardened man, for whom everything has apparently been successful, even for him there is always a counterpart. And this kind of hardening of the being which is produced, this veil which is formed, a thicker and thicker veil, between the outer consciousness and the inner truth, becomes, one day or another, altogether intolerable. It is usually paid for very dearly — outer success.
One must be very great, very pure, have a very high and very disinterested spiritual consciousness in order to be successful without being affected by it. Nothing is more difficult than being successful. This, indeed, is the true test of life!