Is success a noun? A verb? An adjective?
Does it have to be connected to the common good?
Last week, in a local shop at the beach, I spied the photo below. Th caption caught my attention: “Success is knowing when to stop and play.”
It reminded me of a conversation I had with film producer, Pepper Lindsey. She posed the question, “What does success look like to you?”
Often, I see “success” linked with “failure.” Thomas J. Watson, founder of IBM, said “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate” and Winston Churchill told us that “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
When one fails, one needs the discipline—the “oomph”—to continue forward. Success connects to perseverance.
Legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi, reminded us that “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”
W.C. Fields took a contrary view when he quipped, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” He had a point. Coco Chanel said, “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”
While a “stick-to-it-at-all-costs” mindset might remind us not to quit at the first obstacle, success also can arise from knowing when to change course or maybe totally get off the course. Consider these seven questions.
What does success look like to you? Maybe it involves money, fame, title. joy, love, community outreach, difference making, family, spirituality, physical fitness, emotional balance, inner peace, or learning something new every day. Whatever success looks like to you, the person next to you probably has a different rubric. I do not believe I can tell you what success will (or should) look like for you. Nor can you tell me.
Is success a noun? A verb? An adjective? Does it have to be connected to the common good?
At times, “success” gets trivialized with clichéd-bumper-sticker throwaways. Or, connected to what a celebrity does, says, wears, or drives.
For me, success has been tied to purpose, fulfillment, relationships, learning, searching, questioning, listening, and making a positive difference. I have attached it more to a feeling than to a thing, possession, or act. How it actually “looked” changed during my life’s journey. Success, itself, remains for me a continual journey, not one end.
I posed the question “What is success” on social media. Responses included that success is:
- different for everyone. I find peace in simplicity.
- always successful when love surrounds your success.
- when you have good physical, mental, and emotional health. You are doing what you want in life and finding joy in all of it!
- when you do not need anything else and you are happy with what you have.
- when you never stop trying.
- when you do good for others.
- when you learn from your mistakes.
A community might talk about what success looks like. It might even help you sort through your thoughts. You can help me. I can help you. But success must be self-defined. If not, we could end up being successful by another standard and at the same time not be a success in our mind. Does your goal match your inner self?
Video Recommendation of the Week:
Wherever or whatever your rainbow may be, does it add up to a wonderful life? If it does, is that life a success?
For more about community building and sustainability,
look for my new book due out the beginning of 2019.
More information to come.
Make it an inspiring and grateful week and H.T.R.B. as needed.
For information about and to order my most recent book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.
The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.
Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).
(c) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.