Just what is “success”?

Just what is success

I wrote an article recently about being a Go Getter and being successful and I thought I should clarify it a little. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language says success is, I quote:

1. The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted: ‘They attributed their success in business to hard work.’
2. The gaining of fame or prosperity: an artist spoiled by success.
3. The extent of such gain. The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
4. A person or thing that is successful The plan was a success.
5. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.

So when we look at the Go Getter, the reward was the blue vase. Perhaps that isn’t something that excites one person, but offer a red one and the unmotivated are now ready and committed. It is always about discovering what is important to you at that particular time in your life and then moving towards the accomplishment of that goal. John Fowles said: “The anatomy of the first major success is like the young human body, a miracle only the owner can fully savor.”

When I look at the dictionary definition of success above, one must say Hitler was successful in that he achieved his goal. But was he REALLY ‘successful’? Perhaps look at so many “Top of the Pops” entertainers who have overdosed. Were they really ‘successful’? Maybe the CEOs of Enron, were they ‘successful’? Now look at Mother Teresa, who had no financial wealth, but all the world knew her and respected her. Think of Nelson Mandela, what was it that made him ‘successful’?

So I felt I should clarify what, in my opinion, is being ‘successful’. I heard this definition and, for me, it is still the best: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal, and being well adjusted in all areas of life”. These areas to me can be defined as the spokes in the wheel of life. Family, Relationships, Health, Work, Finances, Spirituality, Character, Personal Development, Emotional Intelligence, and Lifestyle. Having goals for all these areas keeps us on track and keeps the ride smooth on our journey to ‘success’.

My life wheel had been out of balance for a while in several areas. Then it was thrown into chaotic imbalance when I was given the prognosis of ‘six weeks to live’. Then everything was about sorting out the Health spoke and progressing into the Family (marriage) spoke and Spirituality spoke. But once the bump in the life wheel was identified and repaired in those areas, then the daily practice of working in all areas could be catered to with a new understanding of ‘Life Balance’.

I have heard it said there is no such thing as a lazy person, just someone who isn’t motivated. Sometimes it could be that in the past the person did have goals but they hadn’t achieved and so they gave up. They no longer have the hope or belief they can achieve anything more than those around them. As it says in the Old Testament’s “Book of Proverbs,” ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ Or perhaps they never had been exposed to the concept of finding your life purpose, planning and goal setting.

Sometimes discouragement can cause us to lose our way, and that is why the spokes of Relationships and Spirituality are so vital. Faith can be stimulated to have another go by those who love us. Our character can be strengthened by viewing failure as a stepping stone and a learning exercise in the personal development spoke rather than defining ourselves as ‘I am a Failure’. We do this by changing our ’emotional’ spoke of the wheel and realigning the perspective from ‘I am a failure.’ to ‘What we were working on is not working the way we had hoped’. Then we can claim the next definition of success:

To have the last laugh; To prove ultimately successful after an apparent defeat; to avenge. The idea of having the last laugh is fairly literal, i.e., though others may laugh now, the butt of their humor will laugh later when, in the final analysis, he is victorious.

So I encourage you to be a “Go Getter,” keeping your wheel in balance as much as possible, which gives you an amazing life. It isn’t about keeping the wheel in mothballs, but rather getting out there and seeing how far you can inspire the wheel to go. Let’s look at one more definition of success from the dictionary:
6. Bring down the house – To elicit a vigorous and lengthy ovation from an audience; to be a smash or great success; sometimes bring down the gallery.

This is the ovation at your memorial service… It is celebrating the contents of the dash on the tombstone – this is the “successful Go Getter”.

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