There are others who despite external success live a shattered life personally. They mask their inner pain with the outward growth, but suffer miserably, and die lonely.
External success but internal failure
Leo Tolstoy is considered as one of the greatest authors of all time, and during the last two decades of his life, he was practically a venerable figure. Thousands wished to hear him, see him or touch him. Every word he spoke was noted as gospel truth. Ironically though, his personal life was in tatters. While the world regarded him as a saint, his wife Sofia saw him as a devil. His unhappiness was compounded by her openly denouncing him; her diaries graphically describe the misery of their household life. British Novelist and Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing said about Tolstoy, “He was a bad and inconsiderate husband, and a monster!”
He died after a train journey, when a station master at Astopov took him home to rest. There he breathed his last, alone, and depressed, while thousands of villagers thought some ‘nobleman’ had died.
These examples simply reconfirm that misery is universal; no one is exempt from tragedy. And it’s not our external success, rather how we face these tragedies that makes us heroic.
The Indian Aviation legend, Sir J.R.D. Tata was a towering business icon. His vision and hard work made the Tatas a multi-billion dollar business corporation. His passion for flying made him India’s first licensed pilot when he was just twenty five years old. At 34, he was elected Chairman of Tatas, which made him the youngest head of the largest industrial group in India. From 14 enterprises, he expanded into diverse fields such as chemicals, automobiles, tea, and information technology; and half a century later he had a conglomerate of 95 companies. One would imagine he had a glamorous and successful life. Yet pain and disappointment didn’t spare him.
In 1953, the government of India under Nehru decided to nationalize the aviation business without even giving the Tatas a proper hearing. J.R.D. Tata was greatly disturbed. The worst came when in 1978, he was unceremoniously removed as the Chairman of Air India, by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai. He was not even informed directly by the government about this decision; instead the news was communicated to him by his successor.
To be continued…