What is the Meaning of Success?
Mar 31, 2017
Posted by: Marcus
Success. It’s something that we are all chasing, but what does it actually mean?
The simple answer is that success is whatever you want it to be. In order for success to be meaningful it must remain a personal achievement, not to be held up against another’s achievements, for it’s certain that they will have a different measure for success. My view of success may differ greatly from yours, but that does not mean to say if we both achieve our goals that they are any less important or meaningful than the others. There is no absolute value for success, it isn’t about what we end up with, or indeed where we end up, but rather it’s about where we have come from and what we have achieved relative to our own journey in life.
For the man who starts his journey unemployed and penniless, success may simply be represented by securing a job that pays him £2000 a month. Yet for the millionaire angle investor success may only come when he turns his millions into billions. The dictionary defines success as ‘the achieving of the results wanted or hoped for’. Both men have achieved the results they had wanted, and as such both are successful in their own right. The problem with success comes when we indulge in one of the most damaging of human traits, comparing ourselves and our achievements to those of other people.
Suddenly what was once a great success to us, running our first ever marathon, pales into insignificance next to the friend who has just done the same race in three hours. We no longer take great pride in our achievement, and instead beat ourselves up because we haven’t reached the heights of success that our friend has. We must learn to be happy as a result of our own efforts, independent from what anybody else has done. Our friend may have been running his entire life, yet a year ago we may have been overweight and unable to run 5km let alone a marathon. How then can we compare the two? Yet that’s what we do and as such we may never feel like we are achieving success.
Whilst all success is relative there are constants to be found in all of our successes.
Sense of Direction: In order to achieve success we must have a goal and a purpose. This way we know that our actions and efforts are moving us forwards, it gives meaning to what we are doing. There will times on the road to success that we feel our best efforts are futile, but when we have a goal and we know our purpose it keeps us moving forward on the path. By knowing why we are doing something, signing up for a marathon to focus us on losing weight and eating healthy, starting our own business to escape the constraints of a new job and secure our future, we will hold true to our purpose during the tough times.
Failure: There is no straight line to success, no matter the size of the goal there will always be ups and downs, there will be good days and there will be bad days. To borrow the words of Bruce Almighty, ‘that’s the way the cookie crumbles'. Not everything we do will result in a positive outcome, but everything we do can lead to a positive outcome. The subtle difference being that we can learn from every experience, and whilst it may not give us the desired outcome in that instance it’s a chance to learn, develop and refine what we’re doing, and ultimately move towards success in the future.
Sacrifice: Nothing is free in this world, and success is no different, as it always comes at a cost. We must be prepared to make the short-term sacrifices in order to reap the long-term rewards of our efforts. It comes down to being prepared to work hard now to enjoy an easier life later, as opposed to taking it easy now and enduring a hard life later. There is also a direct correlation between the cost and joy of the success, in as much as the greater the effort required to achieve a goal, the greater the sense of achievement and enjoyment upon doing so. Easy won successes offer all but a fleeting moment of joy, yet those toiled away at for months, even years, bring with them a prolonged sense of satisfaction.
Appreciation: After every success we must take time to appreciate our achievements, we must enjoy the moment before it passes, and pass it will. There will be new goals and more success to go after, but after a long journey, after the tears and pain must come the joy and happiness. As with success itself, the satisfaction gained from achieving success is relative and unique to each and everyone of us. Don’t chase goals based on other people’s ideals, follow your own heart and do that which makes you happy.