We work so hard to be successful but then success becomes our enemy. This is what happened to Travis Kalanick, Uber’s founder, who resigned a few days ago.
In our linear and binary logic of dual and opposite thinking, we have associated success as good and failure as bad. Our thinking usually establishes opposite dichotomies or categories to describe our reality. The most sophisticated way of representing this idea is a continuum. A continuum may be represented by images that allow for many gradations between the terms, but the root is still a dichotomy. It is still a duality. Since our Western thinking is linear within a continuum of opposites, it seems “logical” to think that moving from one side suggests leaving the other, more of one implies less of the other. But positive and negative meaning creation from a learning point of view is a lot different.
Success can be comforting, yet deforming and deceiving, making us worse than before. It might lead us to fall in love with ourselves, to be narcissistic or self-centered, superior or arrogant, therefore losing the focus of our enterprise and initial vision. Success might trigger everything we were not prepared for: our own triumph.
Failure is the opposite: it is developmental, enlightening, it makes us solid, it brings us closer to our convictions and principles, it makes us coherent and lucid to who we truly are. The meaning creation process depends on how you are going to, ultimately, interpret and enact upon that new reality.
Distinguishing both, success and failure, as parts of the same equation is not only important, it is also crucial in the world you want to build and be a part of. Eastern thinking tends to be more circular or cyclical and does not represent the opposites separate along a continuum. Take the Yin and Yan symbol as an example. The Yin and Yan symbol represents the integration or unity of concepts. Both concepts include each other, they are not mutually exclusive. They form a unity in which both coexist not as a supplement, but as a complement. They enact each other; they interplay together
In this way, you can have both success and failure, but choosing what to become is your ethical option. In a way both can be good for you or bad for you: success can ruin you, and failure can damage you if you adopt the morbid tendency to discredit and offend yourself, punishing you for not achieving those results or dream.
You can define yourself in different ways. You are free to do so. Go beyond the old linear thinking– learn how to use different interpretations and enact differently.
Do not lose sight of your Vision, keep all the learning channels open and Choose your words wisely.