The ‘success vs excellence’ debate became very popular after the movie ‘3 Idiots’ which basically said that if you chase excellence, you will be successful someday. I thought that the philosophy had a lot of loopholes. Moreover, who decides what is success and what is excellence? Also, as human beings, our motivations are not completely black or white. I don’t think those who are conventionally successful are completely against excellence or vice versa. I still don’t know what I should think about the philosophy, but I don’t know why I revisited the thought.

Let’s say you are a man and an aspiring cricketer. If you define success in an conventional way, you would be successful if you compete at international level and perform well consistently. Your success is also about earning a lot of money because that’s what successful male cricketers do. The money comes from viewership. The viewership for men’s cricket is huge, but there is something interesting about this. We all want our team to win all the time, but the truth is, if any one team wins all the time, without any competition from other teams, then there will be no interest in the sport! If you watch sports or any other competition for that matter (dance, acting etc), what keeps you interested is that you don’t know who will win. It’s the unpredictability, the suspense that attracts you to the game.

How will a game have an element of unpredictability? By having teams which are almost equal. By having players who have similar skill levels. So would it be correct if I say that your success as an aspiring cricketer actually depends on the success of your opponents as well? If your opponents are not good enough, then viewers will eventually get bored. In other words, your success actually depends on your and your opponents’ excellence? I mean, if you want to be known as a great player (chasing success), you have to defeat players who are equally great (to do that you have to pursue excellence?).


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