In this article by John Culbertson, we take a look at some important tips on being successful.
Success comes laden with the meaning that we confer on it. For most of us, success is measured by a yardstick that we have borrowed from others. When we meet someone in a social context, at a party or at the workplace, we compare and tend to ask, “Do we have as much wealth and power as him or her?” Is this the best way to measure success? The first among the tips on being successful is to understand what success means.
It is therefore of primary importance to define what success means to us. Therefore instead of asking a successful person for tips on being successful, we should ask ourselves. On the other hand, instead of asking someone that is generally considered successful, find out who you think is successful. Then when you meet the person, ask him or her for tips on being successful.
Let’s Define Success
Is succeeding in life akin to having whatever you desire? If so, then it could take a long while, perhaps even forever, to achieve success. Why? That’s because desire is the antithesis of being content. When you desire stuff, be it material things or power or status in a group or community, business, social or political, there seems like no end to what you want. What about ambition, you might ask? Isn’t ambition a form of desire? It is. Ambition by its very definition is the desire to achieve something. The question isn’t whether we should or shouldn’t have ambitions. It is whether the ambition that we are after is our own or borrowed.
Follow your Heart
Success often indicates prosperity, power, status, wealth, health and popularity. Rarely does it include happiness. You could be rich and powerful and therefore successful. Nobody, including the person who is successful, is concerned, if you are happy. So, you could be successful in your career as a salesperson but unhappy because you would rather be playing golf or the piano because that’s your passion or what your hear desires. Now, instead of being a successful salesman, let’s assume you tried your hand at playing golf or playing the piano or golf. There’s no guarantee that you would achieve the success of Tiger Woods or Michie Koyama. Does that mean you are a better salesperson than a golfer or pianist? Would you rather be a happy pianist or golfer than an unhappy salesperson? Of course, a third argument is whether you’d rather be a happy and successful salesperson than a miserable and failed pianist.
Don’t Give Up
The fear of failure often accompanies any endeavor. More often than not, it is failing according to external criteria or not living up to the expectations of others which we fear the most. When Thomas Edison said, “I haven’t failed, I have just found 1000 ways that didn’t work,” perhaps what he actually meant was, “I have failed a thousand times but that doesn’t mean I cannot succeed.” Einstein was not the first or the last genius whom his or her schoolteacher found lacking. Judging a person’s potential to succeed isn’t the easiest thing unless you are the person. Only you can decide whether you will succeed or not. So free yourself from the fear of failure and continue to do what you believe will make you happy or successful.
That’s right. If you fail, count that as a blessing in disguise. It may seem inappropriate to quote Charlie Sheen but there’s a world of experiential wisdom in his words, “As kids we are not taught how to deal with success. We are taught how to deal with failure. If at first, you don’t succeed, try, and try again. If at first you succeed, then what?” Success that comes easily is not valued or perhaps not even really success but luck, fortune or a random accident in disguise, whatever you wish to call it. No wonder, successful businesspeople people turn to altruism because they now seek to achieve a different kind of objective.
Above all, look within yourself to know if you are successful. Are you content with what you have achieved? If you compare or look externally, there will always be someone who is a better piano player or golfer or salesperson. Do you find yourself comparing another parent or wife or husband or son or daughter? Perhaps it’s good that you don’t because you know in your heart that you are as good a son, daughter, husband, wife or parent could be.
Success then is not the glory of reaching the summit but the joy of living with the knowledge that you are in a place where you want to be and not where others would expect you to be. You will surely succeed if you are not afraid to fail.