Can Success be Engineered?

Just came back from a friend’s house after having a wonderful dinner. In yesterday’s post I had a bit of complaining going on about how much I am missing home and home food. Today turned out to be a blessing. The friend, lets call him S, and his wife Mrs.S had prepared some delicious tamarind rice (Puliyodharai) and curd rice (Thayir) and S cooked and served a variety of dosas – garnished with onions, carrot, tomato, paneer – and we had coconut chutney for the side. One word: Brilliant. Much appreciated.

The after dinner talk spanned across multiple topics involving education, technology, psychology and such, but one sticking point on my mind was something brought up by my roommate. He was talking about a book he was reading currently – “Psycho-Cybernetics” – which was about mind techniques that one can use in order to effectively handle and remove the mental inhibitions one might encounter when doing some task. Whenever we are about to do something new or challenging, our brain throws up these blocks – reasons why we would fail at that task – and what this book apparently taught was to how can one overcome these negative  thoughts and replace them with positive feelings or visualizations to make the mind think that the task is not only doable but its immune to failurel. This state of mind, as per the book, would lead to real success in real life.

I have always thought that success is a hard to define entity and it is very hard to reproduce by following a step by step process. Of course, success that can be measured easily, like grades, or game scores or even job salaries can be reliably reproduced by repeating certain concrete set of actions but for the fuzzy areas of life like work satisfaction, relationships and introspection measuring success is hard, if not impossible. There are many external measurements like property, status and social circle and there are internal measurements too, like wisdom and self worth. Measuring these things is tricky and even if we could do it, there is no guarantee that the same technique will have same result every time. For example, visualizing physical things can be done, but what about conceptual stuff like feeling appreciated or exhibiting confidence?

I have a stomach that is filled to capacity and these are questions that should not be handled while in food trance.

What is your belief regarding success? Do you think success can be willed through mental exercises or is it much more powerful than that? Does success come to people who believe that they will be successful or is it just a possible outcome of any action, irrespective of one’s belief?

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I am on a blog-a-day-for-a-year crusade. Keep me motivated with your comments. Or recommend me some good books to read.


2 thoughts on “Can Success be Engineered?

  1. This is tricky and the real million dollar question. I have thought of this several times and each time there is a different answer or a new realization.

    My current idea on this topic is, for success planning is very important and a preparation for failure and mistakes should be part of it. But even with ones planning one may not achieve the peak as other environmental variables are involved (other humans and health). Still it is going to be the carrot tied before us till our end of life.

    For all I know, this idea may vanish in the speed it came but isn’t that the whole idea of evolution of thought.

  2. you are right about accommodating failures while planning for success and that success is not guaranteed. But beyond planning and execution is there a particular mindset that favors success more than others? Many persistently successful people talk about being in the ‘zone’ when everything seems clear and their thoughts and actions become fluid. Question is, If such a mindset be engineered repeatedly and thereby generate more success.

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