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Success is all about ____ & ____

December 8, 2009

Shawshank Redemption is a 1994                  
Hollywood movie. It was released alongside The Forrest Gump (a mega hit) and went practically unnoticed for some time until it was released on Home Video.

In the movie, the lead protagonist Andy Dufresne is imprisoned for life for a crime he has not committed. While in prison, Andy is befriended by Ellis Boyd Redding “Red” who is one of the oldest and most ‘influential’ inmates.

Andy spends his time in prison reading and carving out neat rock figures using a small rock hammer he acquires. He seemed to have a liking for Geology. He spends a lot of his time alone. No one knows what’s going on in his head. There is a mystery that surrounds him.

After 19 long years, Andy Dufresne escapes from Shawshank prison.
Over the years, he secretly digs a tunnel out of his cell with the rock hammer. He achieves success… he is free…

It’s not that the other inmates were enjoying their stay in there. Hell no.
It’s obvious every other prisoner wanted to be free.

But only Andy got free.

So what set Andy apart from the other inmates?

The answer is ingeniously wrapped in the word ‘Geology’ that has a blink-and-a-miss mention in the movie.

Geology is the study of the effect of pressure on
materials in the earth’s surface over a period of time. Carbon atoms, acted upon by pressure, temperature changes and time, turn into precious diamonds.

Andy was focused.
He applied pressure with his rock hammer.
He did this for 19 long years.
He didn’t get diamonds. He got freedom.
He was successful. Don’t you think?

Look at the lives of all the successful people around you.
Look at your role models. Look at anyone you want to emulate (for good).
Look at success as a whole.

Success may have many definitions, but it has two things in common.


I repeat:

The Taj Mahal took years & years and a whole lot of effort to become the marvel that it is.

Richard Branson (Virgin Group Chairman) started off at age 16 and over the years, built an empire spanning all possible industries.

Michael Phelps always goes for Gold. This swimmer spends half a day in the pool and is today the world’s best swimmer.

No words can embody the work done by Mother Teresa for humanity. For over 45 years, her painstaking efforts have given a new life to countless individuals.

Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger about bodybuilding and his Mr. Olympia titles. I’m certain he will talk about time and pressure.

Michael Jackson, Bill Gates, Donald Trump,  Einstein, etc are all success stories. Even Hitler was a success (success has many definitions, remember?).

All the above successes were focused on what they wanted. That is a prerequisite for success.



But it’s surely not enough.

Success is about persevering and doing whatever it takes.
Success is about facing the challenges as they come.
Success is about being ready with a rock hammer and striking continuously.
Success is about applying pressure… incessantly.
Success is about putting in a lot of time and yet being ready to put in more.

People who find it difficult to achieve success are either not putting in enough time or not persevering enough or both. Analyze for yourself.

So whenever you think about getting successful or want to emulate a success story, remember that you need to put in a great deal of time and apply a whole lot of pressure.

Remember Andy.
It took him 19 years & a rock hammer to get free.

He knew Geology.
He was successful.

There are loads of web wizards, self proclaimed gurus and master coaches who will ask you to shell out thousands of dollars for what they call a ‘SECRET TO SUCCESS’ formula. Well, you already know part of it 😉
To know the other part, wait for the next post.

Remember, there are no secrets. There’s only focus and hard work.

I can’t help but put up the trailer of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. This movie alone has a thousand and one lessons on life. We will explore them in detail some time in the near future.
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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Punit Tharwani permalink
    December 8, 2009 9:02 pm

    Nice blog.. n i totally agree with you.. I had read a book called Secrets of Super Achievers by Philip Baker a week ago… nice it is… Acc to that book also… overnight success cases are very rare… success comes mainly when a lot of your effort and time is being channelized into that one particular thing you desire the most!

    Some interesting things i learnt from that book was…

    ~ Great lives don’t just happen, they’re caused! ~

    Every man has become great; every successful man has succeeded, in proportion as he has confined his powers to one particular channel …

    Things such as wisdom, hard work and willingness to go extra mile makes the difference.

    ~Racing is all I want to do, I don’t have a Plan A and a Plan B’ – Mario Andretti

    ~ The alternative to discipline is disaster ~

  2. December 8, 2009 9:55 pm

    Those bywords are very true and speak volumes about success.
    Success, however, is not just confined to putting in time and applying pressure.
    There is one more important factor. Comin’ up in the next post.

  3. Neha permalink
    December 9, 2009 3:11 pm

    WOW.. felt like an encouraging msg sent across in betn ma xamz :)..NICE WORK!!
    P.S.- signing off to put in sum more time n efforts..EVEN 2DE!!..lolz.. tc!! keep rolling!!!

  4. Sonali permalink
    December 13, 2009 9:51 pm

    Very encouraging indeed!!! One thing’s for sure, success comes with a belief in it..the will to achieve it..and working towards getting it…that’s when you get another important ingredient needed for success -> LUCK 🙂

    looking forward to read the next post 🙂

  5. December 19, 2009 1:49 pm

    @Neha- thank you!

    @Sonali- you nailed it! Luck is indeed the next important ingredient. But there’s more to it than meets the eye… Luck can be created.
    (check the next post 🙂


  1. The mysterious ‘Secret of Success’ « LIFEism

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