Monday, January 2, 2012

SXS Quotient: Defining a metric for holistic success in life

When is one's life successful and fruitful? Having a clear definition and measurement of success helps us strive towards it by identifying and filling gaps. This definition should clearly point us towards concrete actions needed to improve. Ideally, the metric should be
  • simple and actionable, i.e., easy to understand and act upon.
  • measurable: i.e., numerical to gauge progress relative to oneself and others,
  • objective, i.e., not subject to widely different interpretations,
  • absolute, i.e., can stand by itself to interpretation,
  • comparable, i.e., amenable to ranking along an absolute scale, and
  • universal, i.e., applicable to a wide range of personalities in various walks of life.
  • authoritative, i.e., based on the opinions of well-regarded people.
Since this is a bit unrealistic, here is a proposed definition that serves the purpose of guiding a saadhak. This definition is based on my understanding of the Indian philosophical notion of success. Please feel free to comment.

SXS Score (pronounced 'Success score')
There are three dimensions to holistic success along which we need to track ourselves, and strive to improve.
  1. Serenity - शान्ति
    • It can be measured as Anudvega = (100 - % time spent in udvega), 
    • where udvega = duhkha, illness, agitation, anger, boredom, depression, dissatisfaction and other negative conditions)
    • A measure of Ananda (आनन्द)
  2. EXcellence - शक्ति  = कर्मसु कौशलं
    • How much power and influence I have exercised over nature or its resources? What did I accomplish that I could not before? Proportion of my innate/acquired talent that I have visibly manifested. [This is not yet measurable, and needs to be refined]
    • A measure of chit (चित्‌), loosely translated as conscious energy.
  3. Social Enablement - श्रेयस or औदार्य
    • How many others' success (measured by SXS score) did I directly enable? What positive impact did I bring to someone (other than myself and my blood relatives)? A negative number indicates that I contributed to their SXS reduction. Here, `others' can include human as well as non-human beings.
    • A measure of सत्‌ or universal awareness. i.e., the spread of my circle of love - those whose pleasure and pain I feel as mine, expressed as a percentage of the world's population, or people per billion (ppb) :-)
The first two are personal aspects of success, while the third is the divine aspect. The first is an inner state that indicates how much I am enjoying my living - an indication of Ananda. The second indicates my manifested power, shakti, personal accomplishment. The third is the impact made on society.

Balanced success requires a high score on all three fronts.
Serenity ScoreExcellence ScoreSocial Enablement ScoreExample
lowlowlowA tamasic person who makes no difference to the society. The majority of the population.
highlowlowA tamasic person leading an unimpactful life. Many devotees of major cults.
highlowhighA dedicated social worker.
lowhighlow/negativeA rajasic asura - ambitious person who is destined to be burnt out very soon.
mid-highhighlowA rajo-tamasic typical ambitious achiever who leads a successful wealthy life, but is worthless to society at the end. A typical mid-level corporate professional.
highhighlowAll animals. They are always calm, do one thing very well, but cannot help others succeed.
lowlow/highhighA typical hero or role model nowadays, e.g., a successful entrepreneur. They create a major ripple, but cannot make any lasting beneficial impact on society.
highhighhighA pure sattwic worker - the true Aryan + yogin. Many Indian Swamijis and cult leaders.

Periodically, we should check ourselves along these dimensions to see how we are faring.

How to Improve our SXS Score
To improve on 1 (serenity), we need spiritual saadhana, a proper awareness (not mere knowledge) of man's psychological makeup, split between buddhi and manas, and control of manas.

To improve on 2 (excellence), we need 1 plus a constant struggle to push ourselves against our limit in both personal and corporate life - set a high personal/career goal for ourselves and achieve it - thereby boosting our self-confidence to achieve even more. In this process, we discover new capabilities within ourselves and acquire new skills that we never thought we had before. This gives us more and more joy, provided we do it in parallel to 1. Otherwise we will be burnt out quickly.

To improve on 3 (social enablement), we need to make it a habit to engage in some action that uses the skills we discovered/acquired in 2 above and (a) will not benefit us in the least, i.e., purely in a spirit of selfless service, and (b) may benefit someone other than our relatives. This is how we overcome ego and become truly sattwic.

3 brings to us a true sense of fulfilment and opens up huge reservoirs of energy that won't be available when we focus only on 2. We will soon become channels and dynamos of universal energy that is essential to bring any lasting improvement to society.

To learn more on how to improve your SXS score, read Intuition and its Development by Sri Sri Paramahamsa Yogananda.

1 comment:

  1. Mine is high low high is not listed in the table please update that table