The world has approximately 7.3 billion people living in it. On average there are approximately 300,000 births and 151,000 deaths a day. Our world has a lot of people on it, and more are entering it every day. With so many people, cultures, religions, beliefs and perspectives success means many things to many people. So what is success? Is it found at the end of a journey? Is it situational? Is it measured by money? Is it longevity? Is success happiness or is happiness a by-product of success?
With so many people and perspectives success is subjective. Success also has degrees to which it can be applied. Completing your degree is a success, but it doesn’t mean your life will be successful. You can be at the top of your class yet live a life of very little perceived success. Scoring a goal in hockey is a success, but it doesn’t mean you win the game. Though the game might have some successes, the result can be unsuccessful. Equating success to reaching milestones is equivalent to celebrating a victory when your team is ahead after the first of three periods. We can win battles but be unsuccessful in the war. So the question remains, what is success?
I read an article where Fred Smith defined success as something that can “never be measured by money. When people say to me, ‘That man’s worth ten million dollars,’ that tells me he’s wealthy, but it doesn’t prove he’s successful. In some cases, it could mean the opposite. For instance, if Mother Teresa, whom I consider a tremendous success, confessed she was hoarding a million dollars, I’d think she was a hypocrite. Money would prove her a fraud, not a success. The measurement of success is simply the ratio of talents used to talents received. What you are doing with what you’ve got, plus who you are becoming.”
Success does not always have the same look or results but it’s equation is always the same. Success is found in the space where your core values line up with your mission. If your core values are focused on people and relationships yet your mission is weighted towards a bottom line you will not find success. Use what you have and make your mission something you believe in. Feel free to strive for achievements of social status, completing a goal, or reaching an objective but don’t kid yourself by believing you will feel successful or happy because of it. As a Christian man, I believe success is something that achieves infinite, eternal value in this life and in the life of generations to come. It’s when my core values match my mission and leave a positive impact on this earth and it’s 7.3 billion people. Albert Einstein once said, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” What value will you leave behind? How do people feel when they are around you? How will your legacy look with your family, your job, even your life? That is, or isn’t your success.
So the next question is where does happiness fit into success? Share your thoughts.