What is success? That is a question that I’ve asked myself for several years. Dictionary.com defines success as:
- The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like; a successful performance or achievement
With that said, I’ve seen several examples of people that have been deemed a success according to the magazines; gossip articles, television and other media outlets, but are they actually successful or is it an image of success that you see? According to our Dictionary.com definition every person that has wealth, a notable position, or any kind of honors is a success, but in reality I don’t agree with that.
Success is more than your wealth, position, or honors that have been bestowed upon you as all of these things can be taken away from you at a moment’s notice. So many people chase after an image of success because of what they perceive success is from the many media examples that are before them and not based off of what success actually is. This isn’t to say that some of the celebrities that we see on a regular basis in the media aren’t successful, but just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you’re a success. Let’s check out what the image of success is about.
One who has the image of success is usually a person that is always trying to force everyone to pay attention to them. They are the kind of person that will finance a house they know that can’t afford, lease a car that they know that would not be able to buy, and live their lives flaunting all of their material things and expensive outings that they’ve experienced and charged on their credit/charge cards which by the way are now all maxed out.
People who generate an image of success tend to try very hard to make sure that they are the most “successful” person in their circle(s) of influence and if they aren’t, they will try to do all that they can to either keep you from doing better than them, or to increase their image of success in order to keep their ego high and yours low.
This image of success has been chronicled in so many places and areas of life with both celebrities and us “Everyday People”. The most notable celebrity example in recent time for me of a person that had the image of success (and since achieved actual success) is Simon Cowell.
I watched an interview that he did with Oprah Winfrey in which he spoke of a time in his 30’s when he was wearing all the designer labels, drive the fancy sports car, living in the luxurious home and going out to all of the fancy restaurants all on credit until he had a big financial issue crop up which took away the image he was projecting. He had to move back in with his parents and he thought that he would never be able to live that lifestyle again, but look at him now.
Simon understood better than ever from his experience that instead of trying so hard to put up the image of success that he needed to work both hard and smart to be the Actual Success that he truly desired and now he’s surpassed even his own wildest dreams.
People with Actual Success in their life don’t measure their success by the size of their wallets nor with the type of car that they drive, size of the house they live in; places that they vacation in; etc. To have Actual Success means that you have actually achieved goals you set for yourself or organization, goals that you take pride in achieving. Most people who have truly worked for their financial wealth did so doing something that they love to do; the money came as a result of their dedication and hard/smart work to their craft.
You don’t see an American Football player getting a huge contract extension if he hasn’t performed well prior to that extension, in fact American Football is one of the only professions that I’ve seen in my lifetime that will terminate your contract early and not guarantee all of your money if you don’t perform to the terms of your contract (some other non sports-based professions need to take note of that).
The most important trait of a person with Actual Success is their willingness not only to teach others how to be an Actual Success, but their passion for wanting to make sure that those that they teach have even more success than they did. Actual Success isn’t based on politics or bureaucracy; nor is it based on quid pro quo (you do something for me I’ll do something for you); it is based on a genuine love and passion for achievement as well as a willingness to help others go where you have gone and beyond.
Actual Success is what I consistently strive for; I hope that is what you are striving for as well.