When Success Isn’t Real
What is Success..to You?
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘success’? Is it money? A dream job? Perhaps a corner office in a high-rise building, a supercar in your garage, maybe a garage full of supercars, a private jet, a stack of cash, 100K followers on Instagram? Is it a loving partner? A wife/husband? Children? A “successful” business…for who really determines when the business is successful? Maybe all of the above? Or perhaps, none of it.
And that is the point. True success, looks different to each of us, individually, and to everyone of us, collectively. It changes as we move from stage to stage and from circumstance to circumstance. Indeed, what one might deem “success” may in fact be the epitome of failure to yet another. Success is ultimately subjective in its very design.
We may have ‘success’ wrong
In the western world, we have inextricably linked success to material things and positions. We have allowed metrics and analytics, that we ourselves have created, to be the determining factors of our success. Is this to say that these numbers and graphs have no meaning, certainly not, but it is a lethal mistake to make them the primary determinant of something with such real implications. Here are a few things we believe to be objective about success:
- Confidence — The way it makes us feel if we are of the belief that we are successful.
- Empathy and sympathy — The way it causes us to act, both to ourselves and to others.
The good thing about these two things is that regardless of one’s view of success, achieving it (success) will have implications for his confidence, his sympathy towards self and his empathy toward others.
My own view
I recently asked all my followers on snapchat (follow me @devrhoid) to tell me their definition of success. I was intrigued at some of the responses I got. This one was definitely my favourite “To me, it’s seeing yourself work towards something beneficial to your growth and knowledge. I see it as a way to push yourself to achieve all you can and in doing so you’re reaching a stage of self actualization.” ~Mishonie Swack (@mishonieswack). The reason I resonated with this definition is that I’ve always though of success as a state of becoming. Becoming what, you might ask, my answer is “Whatever, or whomever, it is you set your mind to.”
I have adopted the following definition of success – “The progressive realization of a worthwhile goal or ideal”. The person from whom I adopted the definition is Napoleon Hill who wrote the famed book “Think and Grow Rich”. I had assumed from the title that the book was going to be about money and material wealth. I was wrong to judge the book by its title and I highly suggest reading it.
So does that change anything?
Obviously, I believe many people have a misguided view of success. It is my that in sharing this piece they would’ve become acquainted with an alternative. The truth in my view is that many of these people we admire, the ones with the material possessions and wealth were successes long before we knew of them.
Therefore do I ask the question again, what comes to mind when you hear the word success? Is it something that when achieved will make you walk with your head held high? Is it the continued pursuit of a mission to bring about a change in your own life or someone else’s? Is it the feeling of doing something worthwhile? Might it be that your success has as little to do with your instagram following as it does with the amount of wealth you might acquire? What if ultimately, success is not how much you get but what legacy you’ve left?
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