EACH PERSON HAS THEIR OWN DEFINITION OF SUCCESS
There is no universal definition of "success." Everyone has their individual vision of what it means to be fulfilled.
Success is many things. It is both a concept and an experience, a moment as well as an evolution. It is the merging of your aspirations with reality, the weaving of your hopes and dreams with your daily tasks. It is simultaneously tangible and ephemeral, and gives the illusion of being universally quantifiable. Success is externally evaluated yet intrinsically experienced; it is both objective and subjective. The true essence of success, beneath the visible markers and goals, lies in your own personal sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
What comes to mind for you when you think about "success"?
What are the images you see? What does it feel like in your bones to have succeeded? Do you imagine reaching the apex of your profession? Or do you imagine amassing great wealth? Does it mean seeing your face on the cover of national magazines or reading your name in Who's Who?
For some people success may be any one or all of these. For others it may be something entirely different, such as earning enough money to retire at fifty, or having their own art show in a gallery, or coaching their child's little league team to victory. To some success looks like grand achievement, to others it resembles daily rewards, and still others measure it as the accomplishment of an underlying life mission. It may mean being a good friend, or raising socially responsible children, or being a loving grandparent. For some the achievement looks like having lived ethically, honorably, or according to their values and conscience. For many finding or sustaining a romantic relationship or marriage is a goal. Overcoming a disability, hardship, challenge, or obstacle is the criteria for some, whereas breaking records--athletic, financial, historic, or scientific--is where fulfillment lies for others.
Since each person is an individual, comprised of his or her own visions and standards, each person defines success in his or her own way. My definition is probably not the same as yours, nor is yours exactly the same as that of other people you know. We are a constellation of individuals, each holding our own place in the cosmos and twinkling from within as a result of whatever gives us our own individual glow. The first basic rule of success, and perhaps the most important, is that there is no one universal definition of fulfillment. We each have our own, and every one is equally precious and worthy.
THE STANDARDS OF SUCCESS
The popular cultural definition of success in industrial nations is based primarily on three elements: power, money, and fame. It is assumed that if you are in possession of great abundance, have status or power, or are recognized as a celebrity, then you are, by society's definition, "successful." If you have even one of those three requirements, you qualify.
There is, however, one major problem with this definition: It is severely limited. It excludes a multitude of people who are successful in their own right and who define success by an entirely different set of standards. These are the people whose bank balances may not be especially noteworthy, who do not brandish significant authority, and who are not necessarily recognized when they walk down the street. Rather, these are the people who have realized goals and dreams that have been set from within rather than those dictated by societal norms.
Consider the school principal who started a middle school that teaches children values, self-esteem, and love of nature. Is creating an environment where children grow in healthy ways and develop awareness and values any less successful than the business tycoon who masterminds corporate buyouts?
Excerpted from If Success Is a Game, These Are the Rules by Cherie Carter-Scott Copyright© 2000 by Cherie Carter-Scott. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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