Sunday, August 23, 2009

Nothing can beat the feeling of achievement, not even money

I have been thinking long and hard about this. And also trying to see if I can get any evidence to prove/disprove it. And the more I think about it and the more I try to find evidence about it, I am convinced that there is some merit in the case.

Let me get to the point. My essential thought is, in life, is money the greatest satisfier? Or, is that feeling of achievement, of having done something in one's life more satisfying (most satisfying)?

In order to see the merit of this case (there are de-merits), I have been looking at a cross-section of people from different walks of life. Sports, writers, etc. Now, most of the examples seem to be glamourous. But across disciplines, I notice that the sense of thrill, elation, and happiness of reaching the pinnacle of your discipline, seems to far override any thought of money. Let's take the example of a Wimbledon champion - any champion at the All England Club more often than not breaks into tears on his/her victory. Any cricketing World Cup champion is overcome with emotion of having conquered the world - just think back to 1983, when there was no money.

Think of other streams, the Oscar awards maybe - a chap like A. R. Rahman grabbing 2 Oscars and performing at the top of his mark on the world's biggest stage; or maybe, an author who wins say a Pulitzer or a Booker Prize; a scientist or an economist winning the Nobel Prize; other sportsmen breaking records held for years; historians cracking the code on ancient myths; painters creating that one masterclass item that will put them above others (why do we have only ONE Mona Lisa?); advertising gurus, trying to get that ONE ad right, all their lives.

Simpler things, like a mother seeing her kid reach the top of his/her stream; or, a kid jumping around if he/she wins a prize in a school competition or tops his/her exam; a banker or a consultant getting past tough competition and scoring points with a hard client; a child's dream coming true - whatever it may be (Taare Zameen Par?); a childhood dream coming true; two people, a boy and a girl, growing up together, falling in love and getting married to each other; the birth of a kid; a student getting a rank in his/her university; winning a match or a competition for your school, college, university or country...the list is very long, and actually, endless.

In all this, I really do not see any evidence of the money factor adding to the thrill of the human being. As people, all of us have our dreams and aspirations (yes, monetary included, but not overriding, always). And, when we realise those dreams in real life, I doubt, if, at that moment of glory, one looks at the money. I am guessing that, that moment is for the person alone i.e. to sit back and relish the moment. Simply because he/she knows the amount of struggle that went into scaling that summit (whatever it may be).

Yes, the counter to this can easily be, that money is everything. But, for the truly passionate achievers, I would think, that money is a derivative; not the main thing.

Perhaps, there is no end to this argument. But, I would think, that for the truly passionate achievers, money is only a function or outcome of what they set out to do. Else, I doubt if the world would have progressed the way it has, across time i.e. if everyone wants ONLY money and no specific achievements, we would all be robots chasing currencies.

Like I said, an endless debate. But, I would think, that we need more passionate achievers, than currency-driven human beings. That is the one great way of ensuring progress. Else, money will come and go, people may not achieve enough to transfer a better life for the generations ahead.

Money, is passe. True achievement, makes life worth living.

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