Success, what is it and how do you achieve it? Today I am going to look at both those questions, but firstly as ever with the Equations of Life Series, I start with an equation:
Quantifying what success is for you + fighting to achieve it = success
Success is hard to come by, that is what most people say. But in fact most people are wrong, success is not hard to come by it is just hard to define or rather quantify, and the fact that most people struggle to quantify what they would class as a success is the main reason why most people never achieve success.
And this is not going to be one of these pieces which argues that it’s the participation that counts and participation by itself ranks as a success. Success is an entirely individualised experience meaning only an individual can decide if they have achieved success or not, that is to say whereas for one person participation may be classed as a success, for another it may not.
For example let’s say a young boy desires to be a professional golfer, if he becomes a professional golfer does that mean he has achieved success? Well that would depend on the opinion of the young boy, and he may say yes, but he also may say no which may seem odd because surely if he aspired to be a professional golfer and he has become a professional golfer then he must have achieved success.
And maybe he has, but what if our young boy had set his heart on playing in the British Open and yet despite becoming a professional golfer has never done so?
The problem is to be a professional golfer is far too ambiguous a goal, and what our young boy really needs to do is be more specific, for example what does to be a professional golfer even mean, does that mean a club professional, a tour professional, the next Tiger Woods?
Let’s say our young boy decides he wants to be the next Tiger Woods, does that mean if he does not become the next Tiger Woods that he will have failed to achieve success even if he wins the British Open? The answer is again it comes down to the personal opinion of our young boy, and he may say no he has not failed or he may say yes he has, the problem being that to be the next Tiger Woods is equally as ambiguous in terms of quantifying success as the original aim to be a professional golfer.
As said, success is an individualised experience, what that means is a person who wins the club championship at his local golf course can be equally if not more successful on a personal level than Tiger Woods may feel by winning his sixteenth major tournament. Which seems crazy, but it is true and it all comes down to the person in question and what success means to them.
If by winning the club championship a person feels they have achieved success in life, that they have reached the pinnacle that they can reach, then they are going to feel a great sense of life fulfilment. But if by winning his sixteenth major Tiger Woods feels he has not achieved success then the man who has won a far lesser tournament has achieved something that Tiger Woods has not. Success.
Crazy, but true. To explain, you can never be more than what you are, every person’s body has a limit and if you feel you have taken yourself to that limit and achieved all you can and that to you is success then you have achieved success. If in this case the club championship winner feels he has achieved success and Tiger Woods feels he has not, then the club championship winner has achieved success and Tiger Woods has not.
It all comes down to perception, only an individual can define what success is for them. Like said earlier, if success is about the participation for a person, then participating will equal success, if winning is key for the person, then winning equals success. And that’s because success is an emotional feeling, and only when it is felt has it been achieved.
A great example of this may be an out of shape office worker electing to run a marathon, participation in this marathon may be deemed a great success by that person, whereas for someone like Mo Farah (a gold-medal winning distance runner), participation in a marathon is not likely to be enough for him, for him it may only count as a success if he wins. And he may decide he has not succeeded until he does win.
And it should be noted that success does not have to have anything to do with playing competitive sport or chasing promotions at work or anything like that, for one person success may be getting married and having two children, for another it may be living in middle class suburbia and having two holidays a year, for another it may be driving a nice mid range car, for another it may be seeing the world, for another it may be spending time with their family, for another it may be all of the latter, for you it may be non.
And this is why the majority of people fail to achieve success, because they are unable to comprehend that success to them is different to success for others. So rather than focusing on themselves and what success would be for them, they focus on others and what would count as a success for those others then wonder why they themselves never succeed.
Only by focusing on yourself and quantifying what success would be for you do you give yourself a chance of achieving success. A man without legs cannot win a marathon against men who do have legs if the rules stipulate he must have legs to compete, but he can win a marathon against those who don’t. And a victory for him against men who do have legs would be participating in a marathon with artificial legs.
You can’t fight who you are, nor should you try to because all you can be is who you are. So if you wish to achieve success, look in the mirror and quantify what would merit a success for you, then fight for it. When you do you will know what success truly is.
That’s all from me today, stay safe and above all stay true to yourself.