Once upon a time, the great emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte was taking a stroll alongside a village under his vast empire with his corps. It was during that casual walk, he saw a man simply lying under the shadow of a tree, day-dreaming and smiling often.
Napoleon got slightly irritated with that man’s sluggish posture and callousness.
He stopped walking and called upon that man. The man came towards Napoleon and bowed
“Are you not ashamed of being lazy, day-dreaming without doing anything?” Napoleon asked him.
“With due respect, sir. I consider myself a lazy fellow. I do little help and chores for people here and they pay me. That’s sufficient for my daily expenses.” he replied politely.
“Oh pity! You could have done so much things today. You are literally wasting time!” Napoleon told him.
“What should I do, sir?” the man asked Napoleon.
“You could have started a business.” Napoleon told him.
“After that?” the man asked.
“After starting a business, you struggle your way up.” Napoleon continued.
“After that?” the man asked the emperor again.
“After a few years of struggle, your enterprise will thrive and you will be rich!” Napoleon said.
“After that?” the man asked Napoleon again.
This time, the emperor lost his cool and answered, “ After that? What do you mean? After that… after that, you will be happy! Aren’t you?”
“Sir, I’m very content and happy with my life. I’m grateful for each day and I’m happy that my daily needs are met. I’m happy with myself and my family. I always believe that I’m the happiest man in the world. Do you think I need to prove myself again that I’m happy by struggling and becoming rich?” the man asked politely.
Napoleon went speechless. He gave a dull smile, led his corps and left the place.
My father narrated this story to me when I was a kid. I still remember this one because I admire Napoleon Bonaparte – he was one of my childhood heroes – besides the great message the parable carries – being happy in life is more important than being successful. Being happy can be termed as being successful too.
The definition of success varies from person to person. Some people will be happy only when they become rich. Some are happy even though they are not rich. Others are rich but not happy. Some lot are neither rich nor happy.
Happiness lies in defining success. And everyone will be unhappy as well as confused till the day they find out their definition of success and achieve it later.