Sunday, February 17, 2008

What is success?

What is success? According to the dictionary, success is a state of prosperity or fame. Success is very relative. Consider the homeless person.Certainly attaining a one-room suite with an efficiency kitchen and money to buy food would make this person feel very successful. Success is alsodefined as the favorable outcome of an attempt or endeavor.Should we be able to attain a status such as Bill Gates, that would certainly define success wouldn't it? You may feel that it would, but notnecessarily to everyone. Every rose has its thorn. Bill Gates is wildly successful in his endeavors; however, a status of that nature certainlywould require a lot of upkeep. He must stay on top of his game to stay there. Even Donald Trump can end up in bankruptcy. Do you really need toreach a Donald Trump or Bill Gates status to be successful and happy?Success means different things to different people. There are persons that would only consider themselves successful if they were to attain amulti-millionaire status. However, I don't believe that this is the case with the average person.I believe that success to the average person has another definition. The definition of success to the average person is FREEDOM. Freedom from being a slave to the 9 to 5 doldrums in a job they hate....Freedom from worry over bills......Freedom to spend quality time with their families andloved ones. One would not have to be a multi-millionaire to achieve this level of success. It depends on what makes YOU happy. Would you behappy in a two bedroom home that is paid for, driving a car that is dependable and paid for, while having the cash to meet expenses and have thetime to do the things you and your family enjoy, whether it be golfing, sporting events, travel to the beach, or entertaining your friends at home? Or could you only feel succesful with a ten bedroom home, a new car every year, the newest fashions to wear, dining at the finest restaurants?Both are levels of success to someone. Which is it for you? Obviously the first level of success can be fairly easily obtained, and woulddefinitely be less stressful allowing more time to be spent enjoying your success. Although the second is a very lavish lifestyle, it certainlywould require more effort to get there, and more effort to maintain it. We've all heard about the lottery winners who become bankrupt in afew short years because they didn't attend to their finances.Success is usually thought to be referring to a financial situation. As you can ascertain from the above examples, that is not alwaysnecessarily true. Success is very personal. What would it take to make you truly happy? It depends on your priorities. Is time with familyand friends without stress most important to you? Or is an outward show of wealth more important to you, even if it means less freedom?We have all seen the cartoons of the "successful" businessman living on the antiacids to try and control his ulcers. Is he truly successful?Maybe yes, but at a price. Consider this situation: the businessman (or breadearner) of the family is very successful in a financial sense.He has a fine home, is transported to his destinations by his personal driver, a loving wife, two beautiful children. The American Dream, right?Then look deeper. He spends everyday from 7am until 9pm at the office, or with clients. The wife has to have a life too, so she lives herown separate life attending luncheons, shopping, etc. while the nanny raises the children and the housekeeper feeds them. The nanny teaches the baby to walk, to say its first word.Really think about success. Success equals happiness right? Is this family successful? Anyone with children knows the joy of a toddlertaking its first step or saying its first word. I do understand that not all persons are interested in raising a family. They claim to be perfectly happyremaing single and childless. That is why I say success if relative to the individual.Think about your own personal situation. We instantly think that success means the mansion on the hill with a limo driver and a housekeeper.However, I don't believe that it takes that much to make the average person happy and successful.


Annie said...

It would be interesting to know the percentage of people who measure success on materialism. If it's high, then that's very sad.

For me, success is not quitting something, even if the target hasn't been achieved.

Is success measurable? One could argue that a bronze or silver Olympic medalist who has overcome difficulties/pain/hurdles is more successful than a gold medalist that reached that winning line more easily.

You're right, it SHOULDN'T take that much to make people successful (I'm not so sure about happy) but then if success comes easily, it it really 'success'?

Good post Rocky... food for thought.

hillbillyphd said...

I think that many people do measure success by materil things. I think a lot of society is geared that way. Most of the world lives so much better than at any time in history. Past generations would look at our time a s magical i.e. talking to people across the world instantly, watching people on television, using the internet, coking meals nearly instantly, flying in aircrafts, etc... However, this is often taken for granted by people in our time. When we see others with the newest and most expensive gadgets we feel we must have them as well. I am not suggesting that all people are materialist, in fact many are not, but there are a large portion that measure success by things. I have to admit that in ways I am one. I am learning that success is much,much more than things. it is relationships, cherished moments, getting through troubled times and mostly being loved and loving in return.