Success is not an accident. It is the result of our attitude and our attitude is a choice. Hence success is a matter of choice and not chance. Most crackpots keep waiting for a jackpot. But can that bring success? How come one person moves forward with one success after another, and yet some are still getting ready? How come one man goes through life crossing one hurdle after another, accomplishing his goals while another struggles and gets nowhere?
If the answer to these two questions can become part of the curriculum, it could revolutionize the educational system. The uncommon man seeks opportunity, whereas the common man seeks security. We need to keep our minds on what we want, not on what we don’t want.
What is success?
A lot of research has gone into the subject of success and failure. All that we need to do is to learn our lessons from history. When we study the life histories of successful people, we find that they have certain qualities in common no matter which period of history they lived in. success leaves clues and if we identify and adopt the qualities of successful people, we shall be successful. Similarly, there are characteristic common in failures. Success is no mystery, but simply the result of consistently applying some basic principles. The reverse is just as true: Failure is simply a result of making a few mistakes repeatedly. All of this might sound too simplistic, but the fact is that most truths are very simple. I’m not saying they are easy, but they certainly are simple.
To laugh often and love much; To win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; To earn the approval of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; to give of one’s self without the slightest thought of return; To have accomplished a task, whether by a healthy child, a rescued soul, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exaltation; To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded.
How do we define success?
What makes a person successful? How do we recognize success? To some people, success might mean wealth. To others, it is recognition, good health, good family, happiness, satisfaction, and peace of mind. What is really telling us is that success is subjective. It can mean different things to different people. The definition that I feel summarizes “success” well is:
Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.
Let’s look at these definitions carefully. “Progressive” means that success is a journey, not a destination. We never arrive. After we reach one goal, we go to the next and the next and the next. “Realization” means it is an experience. Outside forces cannot make me feel successful. I have to feel it within myself. It is internal not external. “Worthy refers to our value system. Which way are we heading? Positive or negative? Worthiness determines the quality of the journey. That is what gives meaning and fulfillment. Success without fulfillment is empty.
Why? “Goals” are important. Because they give us a sense of direction. Success does not mean being accepted by everyone. They are some groups I would not want to be accepted by, out of choice. I would rather be criticized by fools than appreciated by unsavory characters. I define success as a manifestation of good luck that results from inspiration, aspiration, desperation, and perspiration; generally in the sequence.
Success and happiness go hand in hand. Success is getting what you want and happiness is wanting what you get. Existence alone is not success! It is a lot more!
Do more than exist – live
Do more than touch – feel
Do more than look – observe
Do more than read – absorb
Do more than hear – listen
Do more than listen – understand
A Little Black Pen and My Guest Writer
Some obstacles to success (real or imagined)
- Fear of failure/success; lack of self-esteem
- No plan
- Lack of formalized goals
- Life changes
- Family responsibility
- Financial security issues
- Lack of focus, being muddled
- Giving up vision for promise of money
- Doing too much alone
- Over commitment
- Lack of commitment
- Lack of training
- Lack of persistence
- Lack of priorities
The winning edge
In order to get the winning edge, we need to strive for excellence, not perfection. Striving for perfection is neurotic, striving for excellence is progress, because there is nothing that can’t be done better or improved. All that we need is the little edge. The winning horse in the race wins 5-to-1 or 10-to-1. Do you think he is five or ten times faster than the other horses? Of course not. He may only be faster by a fraction, by a nose, but the rewards are five or ten times greater.
Is it fair? Who cares? It doesn’t matter. Those are the rules of the game. That is the way the game is played. The same is true in our lives. Successful people are not ten times smarter than the people who fail. They may be better by a nose, but the rewards are ten times bigger.
We don’t need to improve 1,000% in any area. All we need is to improve 1% in 1,000 different areas, which is a lot easier. That is the winning edge.
Trials in life can be tragedies or triumphs, depending on how we handle them. Triumphs don’t come without effort. A biology teacher was teaching his students how a caterpillar turns into butterfly. He told the students that in the next couple of hours, the butterfly would struggle to come out of the cocoon, but no one should help the butterfly. Then he left.
The students were waiting and it happened. The butterfly struggled to get out of the cocoon, and one of the students took pity on it and decided to help the butterfly out of the cocoon against the advice of his teacher. He broke the cocoon to help the butterfly so it didn’t have to struggle anymore. But shortly afterwards the butterfly died.
When the teacher returned, he was told what happened. He explained to his students that by helping the butterfly, he had actually killed it because it is law of nature that the struggle to come out of the cocoon actually helps develop and strengthen its wings. The boy had deprived the butterfly of its struggle and the butterfly died.
Apply this same principle to our lives. Nothing worthwhile in life comes without a struggle. As parents we tend to hurt the ones we love most because we don’t allow them to struggle to gain strength.
People who have overcome obstacles are more secure than those who have never faced them. We all have problems and we feel discouraged some time. Most people get disappointed; but winners don’t get disheartened. The answer is perseverance. An English proverb says, “A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner”. Everything is difficult before it becomes easy. We cannot run away from our problems. Only losers quit and give up.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Abigail Van Buren
How do we measure success?
True success is measured by the feeling of knowing you have done a job well and have achieved your objective. Success is not measured by our position in life but by the obstacles we overcame to get there. Success in life is not determined by how we are doing compared with others, but by how we are doing compared with what we are capable of doing. Successful people compete against themselves. They better their own record and keep improving constantly. Success is not measured how high we go up in life but by how many times we bounce back when we fall down. It is this bounce-back ability that determines success.
A Little Black Pen and My Guest Writer