I’ve been mulling this post over for a little while. It was prompted by a conversation I had on Facebook with Chris Knight, the founder of Ezine Articles, where he quoted from an article he liked.
The gist of the quote (as I interpreted it through my own prejudices, anyhow) was that unless you are so busy that other people think you are crazy then you are not doing enough to reach your goals, those goals are not important enough or too easy, and to boot that you will never be a success. My objection as a parent is to what impact a ‘crazy schedule’ could have on family and relationships. Well, it’s wonderful to have a debate on Facebook, but since then I have been mulling over more about what success is so I wanted to expand that here.
Here are a few scenarios I’ve been thinking about.
- Is a person who builds a charity which helps millions of people a success? Pretty obviously so, I guess.
- What about a person who volunteers at that charity a few hours a month. Without person 2, person 1 is not able to create their success.
- Would you consider a teacher who inspired your child at school (or yourself in the past) a success?
- How about a nurse who makes a frightening time at the hospital into something more bearable by treating you as an individual and addressing your fears.
- Would you say Vincent Van Gogh was a success? During his lifetime he was mentally ill, could barely give his paintings away at times and is reputed to have killed himself. Yet now we value his work highly.
It seems to me that sucess is hard to measure, and may not even be visible for some time. So I wanted to share some types of success that may not be so obvious as the traditional measures of money or building a business. I think you are a success if you:
- Are using your creativity in some way and doing what you can to share the results with others.
- Are giving your time and energy to help other people (for parents of young children this may mean only your own family at this particular time if that is all you can manage).
- Lead, teach or inspire other people in some way.
- Are treading a spiritual path, or working on your personal development and growth, as this contributes to improving society.
- Are building a business or working in a business that makes the world a better place.
Most people can achieve all these types of success in their lifetime, but not necessarily all at the same time.
I did stop and think about whether I am doing enough to make progress towards my own goals, and I think it is good to strive towards more of these types of success. My conclusion is that it is not necessarily about working harder, it’s about working smarter. So I am currently working on getting myself more organised so that I can prioritise with the time I have next year whilst still making time to be with my family and friends.
What do you think? Am I making excuses? How do you measure success, are there kinds I have overlooked? Let’s expand the way we think about the subject.