At the outset, I believe we must differentiate between what we call “success” and what we would consider a true “triumph”.
Success comes through the happy outcome of a matter in which we have been involved, or the actions we have taken to achieve a certain end. But to do something successfully does not mean to be triumphant.
In fact, our whole existence is built on victories and defeats, that is, on what we call successes and failures, which alternate in their appearance and disappearance from our sphere of consciousness. Any human being of a certain maturity can recognise and accept that, in the course of their lives, they have come to know the taste of these two types of experience.
Triumph is something more complex, for it does not lie in simple things, but in reaching higher goals by overcoming greater difficulties. And that is why triumph is naturally related to life, the most precious good one can possess, and could be summed up in the phrase that marks the great objective of human beings: “to be triumphant in life”.
But what does it mean to be triumphant in life? We have been led to believe that it is to achieve an enormous number of possessions of all kinds, or a level of comfort that brings us closer to happiness without having to make the slightest effort.
I don’t think so. If anything, from a philosopher’s point of view, it is about attaining the purest and highest thing we can conceive of, and… dear friends, is there anything purer than the dreams of the soul? is there anything greater than discovering the secrets of life? Most human beings, in their childhood, dream the purest dreams: no one wants to be a normal person, one loves the adventurous life, one wants to help others, one fights against injustice and ignorance. In the age of ideals, we are like a flower that opens up and wants to catch all the light, climb the highest mountains and find the most beautiful valleys.
Why should we renounce all this? Maybe to be triumphant in life consists in not betraying our youthful ideals and not running after the mirages of this illusory world, because once they are reached, they vanish in our hands like a handful of sand.
Perhaps triumph resides within us and manifests itself as a force that drives us to follow our dreams, despite the falls, the pain and the effort that this entails. Perhaps triumph means getting past the fallen trees that block our path, and continuing to advance towards the horizon, further, always further.
To find the key to triumph we must be brave and know how to love, we must dare and want, but really want! For that key is within us and, therefore, finding it depends on ourselves. On the courage to begin to travel unknown paths. On a love that cannot be extinguished by human miseries.
We need to be in a healthy state of tension, which has nothing to do with having a bad temper or exhibiting uncontrollable nervousness. It has to do with finding a natural state of attention, which we can apply at any time and in any situation. A tension that keeps us alert to discover life’s opportunities and to take advantage of them.
If we are attentive, we will discover that life will reveal a succession of doors to us. And every door has a key to open it. The key to triumph is within you.
Image Credits: By Daniel Foster | Flickr | CC BY-NC-SA-2.0