Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What is Success?

How do we know if we have failed or succeeded? Well many people would make a plan and follow it, completion of this plan results in success and lack of completion would suggest failure. But what about deviation from the plan? For example, one of my ambitions in life is to get into university, however I am currently looking at applying for a completely different course to the one I originally intended to apply for. Does this mean that I am not successful? 

My gut instinct (the one I have learned I should always follow) shouts "NO!" but in the eyes of other people the answer is a resounding "YES!" to this my reply is that we are all individuals and so no one person's success is the same as someone else's. A person's success should be measured on a personal basis.  In my opinion success is being happy and content with what you have, but also having goals that you achieve along the way. Once I have achieved all, or most, of the things I wish to, I would class myself as a success. That does not mean to say that at the moment I think I am a failure. 

However in the eyes of other people, namely my parents, this is seen as failure. I have not "found my way to greatness yet" and in there opinion never will. Maybe that is a bold statement, after all that is only my interpretation of their opinion, but getting back to the point success is personal, and just because one person thinks your a failure does not mean you are! 

This comes after a conversation with a friend in the last few weeks. It got me thinking about what it means to be a success. In terms of the general view of success, people I have spoken to seem to believe that success is, earning buckets and buckets of money, having a respectable job, high academic status and achieving/acquiring a family that may or may not be perfect, but nonetheless that you have built up yourself. My response to this is really another question, Is all that actually quite shallow, shouldn't success be something more than material possessions/perceived high status?

What it is that makes someone successful? Would you class yourself a success? Whatever the answer there is always another question... why?
In the 21st century success is measured in a number of ways. What ever it may be to you, success is undeniably a big deal. But why? what is it in human nature that means we feel the need to out do each other and compete? I get that it may originate from primal instincts, survival of the fittest and all that jazz, but in today's society is there really any need for it? Why is success so important?

It is at this point I almost contradict myself, because as I believe that healthy competition is vital for society, the economy and any other related parts, I also believe that people think too much of it, and are constantly measuring themselves and being measures against others. And it is the latter that I disagree with. I find this idea of comparison quite unhealthy. As much as it might be needed for competition to exist in the first place, placing too much emphasis on it takes success from being personal to being commercialised. The idea is then introduced that if you do not have the latest gadget or the latest clothes or the latest trendy look then you are unsuccessful. It is then that I feel people need to step back and ask that question....... WHY? 
For the moment I shall digress. There are both positive and negatives to being 'successful' after all it can open doors and provide life altering opportunity but it can also be the bane of a person's life, it can be the cause of faliure, and it can be the very reason for the break up of that 'successful' family you were working so hard to build.
For me success is personal. It's all about proving to yourself that you are able to over come the obsitales that stand in your way, and acheive what you want to. And if that means that for the time being you are an ugly duckling, just have patience and you will be rewarded with the sweet sent of you flower.
So what is success for you? And why do you want it so badly?

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