Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 11, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 11, 2004 – Defining success isn’t an easy thing to do. Unsuccessful is much more straight forward – it didn’t happen – you blew it – there are no more chances – you failed. After watching some events in the recent Athens Olympics, I was amazed to listen to some of the athletes discuss their disappointment when they weren’t “successful” winning a gold medal.
No matter that a silver or bronze medallion hung around their necks or that they ranked within the Top 10 of their sport in the world. Anything but “gold” was a failure. The years of sacrifice, training and striving to perform at the best possible level, whatever that was, meant nothing. One broadcaster, after speaking with a silver medal winner, turned back to the camera and proclaimed it a good effort, but added that the “endorsements” certainly don’t go to the silver medal winners. No “Wheaties” box for you! How sad for these athletes, but sadder still for people, that success in our times is defined so narrowly.
Success happens when you’re the president of a company, not a vice-president, when you win the marathon – not when you compete, when you are awarded an Oscar – not when you’ve given a stellar performance, when you’re a millionaire not when you earn a respectable salary, when you own the business not when you work for it, when your kids are in private school not when they attend a public school, when you have a bigger house, more toys, grander vacations, wear a size “2” skirt – better still is the new size “0”.
When success is defined in such restricted parametres, how can most people ever hope to measure up? Does money define success? It does for many people. Without it you’re a loser. If we adhere to the belief that success exists in such rigid forms – there are about 100 successful people on the planet.
This, of course, is absolute balderdash. Success happens every day all around us. If you don’t believe this is true – then take off the blinders, open your eyes really wide, drive a wedge into your closed little mind so it will stay open for half an hour, and look around at your fellow human beings. People achieve great and small things every day in every walk of life. Success isn’t limited to the wealthy or to a select few – but enjoyed by us all. If you change the way your define success you’ll be amazed with your life. The more “little” successes you achieve – the greater your confidence becomes and the more satisfied you become with your life.
I started this year with my typical list of goals. I’ve achieved some of them. How amazing is that? It’s fabulous. I’m learning to measure my success in life by my own yard stick. What do I care is someone else has more money, a bigger house or a newer car? That’s great for them and I hope it makes them happy. As this year draws closer to its conclusion – I’m inordinately proud of these successes:
I’ve provided for myself extremely well.
I’ve kept my commitment to writing absolute.
I continue to work on health, nutrition and exercise.
I’ve served my clients honestly and well.
I know it’s okay to fail. A life lesson well learned.
I know I’ll be blue, angry, bitchy and impatient sometimes.
I keep learning and bit by bit I’m becoming wiser.
In my heart I know I’m well on my way to being the person I’m capable of being.
I never give up on myself.
Are there some things I’ve done or said of which I’m not proud? Yes. Have I learned something from these events? Yes. Will I make mistakes again? Yes. Have I figured out all the nuances of living? No. Does that bother me? No. Am I successful? Yes – you bet I am, and becoming more so every day.
I’m maturing (ever so slowly) into the person I want to be – not a carbon copy of some societal idea of success. If you take one thing from today’s thoughts – let it be this. Create a vision for a successful life (yours alone) and measure your attainment of it against your own plan. That’s where personal achievement resides – in the heart of who you are – not in competition with some outside person, place or thing.