Tuesday, 19 April 2005

Just what IS success?

Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 with 1 comment
“Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it” – Mark Twain.

Everyone talks about success, but nobody really knows what it is.

On Sunday 13th February I proposed in this blog that success could be understood in terms of the journey and not just the destination.

I said the Macquarie Dictionary defines success as 1 The favourable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavours; 2 The gaining of wealth, position or the like; 3 a thing or person that is successful. I said I disagreed, because my definition would also include - having set achievable goals, showing focus and commitment by working industriously towards achieving the goals.

There were no bites, and I had better come clean and say that on deeper reflection I no longer feel that success is equivalent to goal-achievement, even.

Think of this image of the addicted athlete – never satisfied, always striving to do better, but living a life of frustration and unhappiness.

And compare this with the endless pursuit of money. “Money has never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness” – Benjamin Franklin.

Or of fame. “The sound of a great name dies like an echo; the splendor of fame fades into nothing; but the grace of a fine spirit pervades the places through which it has passed” – James Thurber.

Or power. “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power” - Abraham Lincoln. In fact Plato says “he who seeks power is not fit to hold it”, in other words, if power comes to you, let it come to you as a result of what you have achieved, not simply because you have spent your life chasing it.

“Contrary to what some people think, sharing power increases your power… the more you empower others, the bigger you become in their eyes. There is a law in the universe which says that power shared returns; power withheld diminishes” - Sheila Murray Bethel.

Or pleasure. “Do not bite at the bait of pleasure until you know there is no hook beneath it” – Thomas Jefferson.

Pursuit of fortune; fame; power; pleasure are detours that keep people from achieving and enjoying true success.

So let’s bite the bullet. What do I think success is? Well, I am still thinking, but here’s a start at describing what I see as true success.

Five key things –
1 Success is not having to “control everything” yourself. It seems to come as a result of sharing everything with others!
2 Success is doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.
3 Success is always doing your best.
4 Success is always seeking to do new things, always wanting to stretch and grow.
5 Success is the balance between putting no limits on what can be achieved, while setting yourself targets and goals which are achievable.

I want to refine this further. To help me, I would like to hear your ideas of how “success” can be defined. There are probably as many concepts as there are Vetrunner readers! You may like to add your comments here.

To finish I will “originate” a quote of my own.

“When you want to play to win, remember that if everybody wins, so do you”. – Geoff Moore

1 comment:

  1. Katie feels the best definition of success is "completing one chinup". Fair enough. The test is due on 23 May. That's a promise! You have (all) been warned!