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Measure your own success

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With Lorraine Lusinje:

What is success? This is one thing that has different meanings to different people. For some it is having a lot of wealth. For others, it is being famous or climbing up the corporate ladder or being attractive and beautiful. For some, it means having a family and for others, as long as they are happy, they are successful.

One of the lines by the wealthy and famous artist, Rick Ross, is “How many people you bless is how you measure success”. For some, success is about how they interact with the people closest to them and how much value they add to other people’s lives. On the other hand, we have those whose success is self-indulgent; it revolves around their individuality and self-complex.

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It is an indisputable fact that everyone craves success, and it is sometimes in human nature to be competitive and desire to be better than the next person. The digital era has even made this fact amplified because the rise of social networks has given people the opportunity to paint the picture of their lives (be it real or fake) that they want the world to see. Most of the time, people would like to give the impression of their lives that is exaggerated with the aim of making others or “competitors” envious or simply to feed their egos.

What I have come to notice is we are all different people and we will always be different people with varying desires and core needs, varying opportunities and abilities and also with varying intuitions. It is, therefore, counter – productive to measure your success against other people’s success. This is the same as living your life under somebody else’s shadow.

For instance, there can be two brothers that have shared their lives for years. On the surface, people might have the perception that they have the same goals and desires in life while, is essence, one craves for a family and a simple job and the other one craves to climb up the corporate ladder even if it means sacrificing having a family. If their desires come to pass, people might have different opinions; they might compare them and label one of them more successful than the other depending on their perception and yet the individuals in question are content and successful on the paths they have chosen.

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In the same way, one should not waste their time rating themselves against their workmates, friends and relatives because their path is not your path. Unless one is sure beyond reasonable doubt that what they want out of life and their idea of success is exactly the same as the other person, maybe they can allow this person to be an inspiration. I say inspiration, not competitor, not a god, just an inspiration.

But even as one identifies an inspiration, it is important to realise that there is more to success than just having the desires and goals to attain. It takes time and effort; it can be affected by some physical or mental disposition and it can be influenced by outside factors that you have no control over. For instance, you might fancy being a professional basketball player but if your height makes people think you could be Danny Devito’s twin, then your goal might be a disadvantage to you and have a bitter ending since the game is usually dominated by tall people.

As much as it is important to have goals, it is equally important to look at yourself from a larger unbiased point of view and identify your talents, abilities and disposition, opportunities that surround you and exploit them to achieve your maximum potential. Success is about reaching your climax and taking full advantage of the opportunities and abilities at your disposal. It does not matter what everyone else is doing; it does not matter what your friends and workmates consider success; what matters is what will work for you and what will make you happy.

At the end of the day you should be able to look in the mirror and recognise yourself and a self-made person who chose a path you want to follow and are winning on that path. You should be able to say I do the best I can and achieve what I need to make my life valuable. Measure your own success, not other people’s success.

I rest my case.

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