You’ve probably noticed that, in my previous post about being a success I said nothing about money. I suppose many–maybe most–folks consider making money a mark of success. How do you think about that? If money doesn’t buy happiness, (you must have heard this as often as I have) then do you consider being happy a measure of success? Maybe I should have changed the saying to: “Wealth doesn’t buy happiness.” Vast difference, I think, between having money and having wealth, between having enough to eat and dining richly on white linen tablecloths.
But we all agree, however we measure success, that we’d like having some, right? I recently read a magazine article that had suggestions about gaining success. It quoted Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs who, in turn, had quoted something Jobs said when he was young: “The journey is the reward.” Jobs went on to say “I did learn some things along the way . . . I really did.”
So, what did I learn from the article? There were four major categories. The first category was VISION. That’s the ability (article author Barbara Vining says), to see possibilities beyond what has yet been imagined, and to translate that vision into concrete accomplishment. She says anyone can cultivate this ability. So, like it or not, I’m betting (and Vining is affirming) that you already have vision, even though you may have to dig deep inside to find it. Take a quiet moment and think about that.
Second, Vining lists FOCUS as important in achieving success. “Keeping both the overall goal and the specific task at hand clearly in view enables one to say ‘No!’ to mental and physical distractions, to taking on responsibilities that others can do, and to giving in to unhealthy tendencies.” (Got that message? I sure do. Follow it always? Well, I sure try.)
Third: COURAGE. Oh boy, I get that, and I bet you do, too. “Try, try, try again.” I haven’t a clue where I first heard that. Probably it was a message I heard repeated in childhood. But gee, it popped into my head now as a mature adult when I thought of using courage on the road to success. Have the courage to believe in yourself and keep trying.
(What cheer leading messages can you add to help us all along the way to success?)
Fourth: PERSISTENCE. Well, that makes sense, and repeats the message “Never give up.” Vining reminds us that Thomas Edison experimented over a hundred times before he succeeded in producing the incandescent light bulb.
Sometimes friends or family members, knowing your goals, will help you in the persistence thing, even if just by asking frequently how things are coming along until you want to swat them. But still you push ahead so, eventually, you can tell them about your success, large or small.
If you are a God-leaning person (or rely on an ultimate and beneficent force or power you call by another name) then you have a very strong partner on your journey to success–and you already know that.
However you define success, you gotta admit it’s a topic worth pondering.