SRI SRI- What is Success?

Q: Guruji, success to this world means money, power and fame. How does one know if we 

are successful? Is there any measure?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To me, the sign of success is a smile. The number of smiles that one 

has in their day-to-day life indicates how successful one is. You may have a big bank 

balance, a lot of money. But, if you can’t smile, if you are tensed, upset and angry, would 

you call such a person successful? Someone who is unfriendly, tensed, worried, can’t sleep, 

can’t even eat because of cholesterol, diabetes; would you call him a successful person? 

Often, people spend half of their health to gain their wealth. Then they spend half their 

wealth, to gain back their health (which does not come). This is not a sign of success. To 

me, a sign of success is confidence. Even if you lose everything, if you have confidence, 

then you can recreate everything again, and that is success. There are ample of examples. 

There are businessmen, who rose to the top, and with one uncalculated movement, they 

lost it all. They came way down, and still, they built their businesses again. You can see this 

in the Sindhi community; they were living in Karachi with such comforts. Similarly, the 

Kashmiri pundits in the valley had huge bungalows, apple gardens, saffron gardens; 

suddenly, they had to leave everything. The same with the Asian migrants from Uganda, 

they had nothing when they left the country. Generations together lived in Uganda, and 

owned big factories. One fine morning, they had to leave the country with one suitcase. I 

met a Gujarati gentleman in London. This man had a huge television factory, about 15 to 

20 years ago, in Uganda. He had many Rolls Royce cars, and lived a very comfortable life. 

One morning, the Asians were asked to leave the country. With just one suitcase, they 

arrived in London, as refugees. This man and his wife, in their fifties, were selling hot dogs 

on the streets. He said, ‘Gurudev, we have never worked so hard.’ Look at this! Now this 

successful businessman rose again to be an industrialist there. Once you have the zeal, you 

can gain back the wealth. The same situation occurred for the Sindhi community. They were 

rendered as homeless refugees in India after the partition. Today, the Sindhi’s are 

governing and managing all the wealth, wherever they are. The same with the Kashmiri 

pundits; they were rendered homeless. Many of them who had the zeal to do business came 

to Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, and started something. Success is an attitude, it is not a 

phenomenon. When you agree to be bogged down, that is the sign of failure. Resist getting 

bogged down. Just like a candle. You light a candle and turn it upside down, the flame 

always goes up, and it never goes down. In the same way, if we can have the enthusiasm to 

say, ‘I can make it, I can rebuild my business’; that is what I would consider a sign of 

success.
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