Who Doesn’t Want Success?

By: Katherine Abraham

By: Katherine Abraham

The thing is, how to find the key? 

Indeed, everybody wants to succeed in life but the truth is, there is no single definition for success. One thing is sure, however, there is a way to it.

What Is Success?


Some people measure success in terms of wealth. Some describe it as attaining one’s goals in life. Others believe success is when they find happiness, peace, health and love.

Generally, it includes prosperity, attainment or fame.  

Another definition, however, can relate to the way you live your life. If it’s your desire to help others and make this world a better place for everyone, then that is success. 

Christians regard God as an integral part of their triumph. It is not as a result of chance or destiny but the outworking of God’s providence. By faith, using your talents and gifts with the strength and capacity that the Almighty gives will result in success. When we fully cooperate with God success will result.

To further understand success, it will help to know the opposite.

FAILURE. When you do not reach your goals, you fail. If you are not happy, even if you are wealthy, you crumble. If you have accomplished many things but not helped the needy, your life is a failure.

As you look around you will discover that even the wealthy and successful have failures in their lives. Many rich and famous figures suffer from addictions or are affected by scandal. Some even attempt or commit suicide. They were extraordinary people but they were also unhappy.

In the end, money does not define success. Rather, it should be how we value the relationships in life such as family and friends.

How Does Indian Society View Success?

A significant article published on March 27, 2018 by forbesindia.com tells about how Indians view success. From a LinkedIn survey of sixteen countries, Indian professionals were found to rank third in regards to feeling successful. The UAE bagged the top spot and Brazil came second. In a survey of over one thousand individuals in India, one in every ten was optimistic about achieving success within a year (twice the global average). 

Prosperity means health and happiness for Indians. According to research, they do not have so much regard for wealth.

Health, wealth and happiness may be the ideal mantra for a successful life but most people in India define success as being either happy or healthy.

Notably, seventy-two percent of Indians define success as ‘being happy’ and sixty-five percent choose good health as an indicator of affluence.

Thirty-six per cent link prosperity to ‘earning a six-figure salary.’ A rather low twenty-two percent said they perceive fortune to be a ‘rise in the paycheque.’ 

Around thirty percent think that social success is more important than professional success. 

People in India today have very different views about the meaning of success. To some it is having good friends whilst others believe that having the opportunity to travel and find new hobbies is considered as wealth.

List of Successful Indian Figures


The following are some politicians, business people, national athletes and movie actors who all had their ups and downs before they attained prosperity. They are real people who showed determination and worked hard. As a result, they were victorious in their ventures.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was, to most Indians, a successful man. Most people regard him with admiration for his influential non-violent philosophies that led to India’s independence from Britain.  Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, India and died on 30 January 1948 in Delhi.

He was a lawyer, politician, social activist and writer who became the nationalist movement leader. Gandhi’s fellow countrymen esteemed his doctrines in achieving political and social progress and honours him as the father of India.

Abdul Kalam

Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is an Indian scientist who became the eleventh president of India (2002-2007). He faced insurmountable odds on his pathway to becoming the leader of the nation.

Kalam haied from a low-income Tamil Muslim family and started working at an early age to supplement the family’s income by selling newspapers after school.

He was a hardworking student with an interest in mathematics who gained average grades. He submitted a project that impressed his school dean and that was his breakthrough.

Dr Kalam joined the Aeronautical Development Establishment of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and after some time became the head of the organization. He led in developing India’s missile and nuclear weapons programme.

Indira Gandhi

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, née Nehru, was India’s first female prime minister, serving two terms from 1966 – 1977 and 1980 until her assassination in 1984.

She initiated the Green Revolution in India and was generally thought to be a ruthless leader. Nevertheless,  she succeeded in lifting India out of a policy dilemma and, because of her work, India’s development was set on a fast track.

People today recognize her as India’s most extraordinary prime minister of the twentieth century.

Narayana Murthy

As the father of the Indian IT sector, Fortune Magazine listed Murthy among the twelve most outstanding entrepreneurs of our time. However, his endeavours were not always successful.

Narayana Murthy’s first venture was a company named Softronics. It failed about a year and a half after its launch. Following this, he worked for Patni Computer Systems for about five years.

Then in 1981 he founded Infosys, together with his wife and six other software professionals. Today, Infosys is India’s fifth largest traded company and third largest Indian-based IT services company.

Gautam Adani

Gautam Adani’s path to creating his empire wasn’t easy. At the age of eighteen, when he was just in his second year of commerce degree studies, he dropped out of Gujarat University due to financial constraints. 

Rather than becoming discouraged by this early adversity, Adani found work as a diamond sorter in Mumbai. He went on to establish a diamond trading business and made his first million by the age of twenty.

Adani’s success continued and, within a short period of time, he created one of India’s best known business houses, the Adani Group, which he now chairs. This conglomerate trades in coal mining, oil and gas exploration, multi-modal logistics and power generation and transmission. Before reaching this level of prestige, however, Adani had to learn the art of perseverance.

Captain Gopinath

Captain Gopinath, who hails from a simple family, is the founder of Air Deccan, India’s helicopter charter service. Gopinath, the son of a school teacher and one of eight children, went on to revolutionize air travel in India.

Following his school education, Gopinath entered the Indian army rising to the rank of captain. After eight years of service he retired in order to establish a sustainable farm. His innovations earned him the prestigious Rolex Laureate Award. Later enterprises included operating an Enfield dealership and opening a hotel.

Gopinath’s many ventures brought adversity and some failures but, finally, Deccan Aviation was formed which later became the launchpad for Air Deccan.

Sushil Kumar

Sushil Kumar is a renowned Indian World Champion wrestler. He won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, gold at the FILA 2010 World Wrestling Championships and silver at the 2012 London Olympics.

Kumar’s father was a bus driver and his mother was a housewife. Despite being born into a lower- middle-class family, with minimal funding available, he was nevertheless encouraged to take up wrestling.

Sushil Kumar overcame adversity including inadequate training facilities and a lack of correct nutritional supplements. His success in becoming a world-renowned wrestling champion is a result of hard work and sheer determination.  

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Dhoni is one of the greatest Indian cricketers. He did not always have a great interest in cricket as a child, preferring badminton and football at which he excelled at district and club levels.

He was selected to play as wicket-keeper for his local cricket club where his cricketing skills were honed.

Dhoni hails from a lower-middle-class family. His father, Pan Singh, held a junior managerial position at MECON, India’s public sector steel company. From 2000 to 2003, Dhoni worked for the Indian railways as a ticket examiner to help the family’s income.

In 2004 Dhoni’s cricketing performance had caught the eye of the selectors, and he was picked for India’s tour of Zimbabwe. This was to be the start of a long and illustrious career for Dhoni, at national and international levels, captaining the team for several years and achieving many records. Dhoni played at all levels of cricket, Test, One Day International (ODI) and Twenty-Twenty, finally retiring in August 2020.

Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan recalls 2000 as being the most disastrous year of his life. He had not made any films, had no money and no company. It was his lowest point. Moreover, in his own words, there were “a million legal cases against”. The bank was ready to confiscate his home and he faced all this adversity when he was in his late fifties.

The Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited was a ‘sick’ company. His friends and financial advisors told him to close it and move on but Amitabh felt he should keep going, despite his debts.

He said it felt like there was a sword hanging over his head at all times and many sleepless nights. Then one morning Amitabh rose early and went to visit the veteran Bollywood film director, Yash Chopraji to explain his dire  predicament. 

Chopraji offered him a role in the film Mohabbatein which helped with his finances. Amitabh also began starring in commercials and television programmes until he finally reached a breakthrough with the series ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ which reversed his fortunes and enabled him to pay off all his debts.. 

Super Star Rajinikanth

Rajinikanth was born Shivaji Rao Gaikwad, the youngest of four siblings, into an impoverished family. His mother died when he was young and was raised by his father, a police constable. 

Rajinikanth was employed in various blue-collar jobs in Bangalore and Madras as a coolie, carpenter and bus conductor. Then one day he heard about some acting classes and, when his friend and fellow bus driver offered to help him financially, he enrolled at the Madras Film Institute in 1973. 

He was noticed by the Tamil film director K. Balachander in 1975, whom he refers to as his guru or mentor, and his career was launched. Rajinikanth became a successful movie star and today he is a cultural icon.

Rajinikanth is listed amongst NDTV’s ‘India’s 25 Greatest Global Living Legends’. His speech after receiving this honour was a testament to his incredible life, stating that although “many people are sceptical about miracles, they do happen.”

Success Stories in the Bible

Let us look at some success stories found in the Bible. You will be amazed at how these stories are similar to the success stories presented above.


Joseph was the favourite son of Jacob. He was the firstborn of his mother but the eleventh of twelve siblings. Jealousy and envy resulted in separation from his family when he became a slave as a boy.

Joseph remained faithful to God; he made it through all the hardships he encountered. God blessed him with wisdom, health and a good disposition. His master was pleased and satisfied with his work, elevating  Joseph to the position of chief of slaves in the household.

Just when things seemed to be going well, he was thrown into jail for a crime he did not commit. Although he was imprisoned unjustly, he never cursed God but made the best of the situation. He remained faithful, and the head jailer trusted him.

Joseph proved his faithfulness to God through all the ups and downs in his life. Eventually he became Egypt’s governor, second only to Pharaoh. He was able to save the population of Egypt, including his entire family with whom he was now reconciled, from seven years of famine.

His triumph was due to his faithfulness to God. Joseph never let go of God through all the good and bad experiences of his life, and this was the secret of his success.


David was only a shepherd boy, but he killed the giant Goliath. With God’s help he overcame all his battles. The king became jealous of his accomplishments and planned to kill him. David became a refugee, living in the wilderness to escape the king’s wrath. He lived apart from his family and loved ones. His life was hard but he still remained faithful to God.

David waited on God’s providence. Following the king’s death, David became his successor and his kingdom was one of Israel’s most glorious.

Daniel and His Friends

The conquerors captured Daniel and his friends and took them to Babylon. These young people committed their lives to God even in the foreign land. God blessed them and they became the wisest men in Babylon.

They were even more successful when they refused to worship the idol that the king had made. Daniel’s friends remained faithful to God and He saved them from the fiery furnace. Many years passed and again Daniel faced an unjust and cruel punishment. He was thrown into the lions’ den but God sent His angels to shut the lions’ mouths, and the whole kingdom came to recognize the God of Daniel as the only true and living God.

Esther the Queen

Esther was an orphan until her cousin took her and raised her as his daughter. She grew up to be an exceptional woman. By God’s providence, the king chose her to be the queen.

In this position she succeeded in saving her people from genocide. Her story was of beauty, courage and total dependence on God. Her faithfulness to God’s calling and will for her life is a beautiful example to follow.


A man of prayer, Nehemiah, was successful in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.

He served as the cupbearer to the Persian King Artaxerxes. He asked permission to return to his home country after hearing about the sorry state of the land of Judah. The king granted his request and Nehemiah returned to the city of Jerusalem. He led the rebuilding of the city and its fortifications.

Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem in 445 BC as the provincial governor of Judah/Yehud. He surveyed the damage of the entire city at night as he journeyed around its walls. 

People were enlisted to repair the breaches in the wall and Nehemiah also urged them to set up guards to defend Jerusalem against their enemies.

They completed the work of repairing and rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and gates in fifty-two days. Nehemiah made a record of the genealogy of all the nobles, officials and people who were then living in Judah.


Peter was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He led the early Christian church in spreading the beliefs about Jesus. With the power of the Holy Spirit many people joined the church during his time.


Paul is known as one of the most influential leaders of the early Christian church. He played a crucial role in spreading the gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews) during the first century. 

More than a dozen churches were established under Paul’s leadership.  He authored thirteen books of the Bible and had a more significant impact on the world’s religions than any other person besides Jesus and even Muhammad.

Paul persecuted the Christians until he became one of them. The Book of Acts tells us that he was present at the death of the first Christian martyr and “approved the stoning of Stephen.”

The above Bible characters were successful because they obeyed the will of God in their lives. God blessed their obedience and faith. Their experiences were not all pleasant and they suffered hardships and trials but as for their faith, they were prosperous and victorious.

Tune in to ‘Chasing Hope‘ podcasts and blogs for more inspiring messages and exclusive contents.

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