Success—Who Decides?

“I climbed to the top of the ladder of success only to find I had it leaning against the wrong wall.”  

This is a quote motivational speakers use and I have no idea where to give credit. I even “googled” it and couldn’t find the wise one who said it first. No matter, let’s talk about success. And you might want to start by reading the two articles posted below. I particularly like John Watson’s definition of success in the article below,  What is Success and How Do We Achieve It? and I quote, “Success is the completion of anything intended.”

This is a great definition because it allows you to set up your own parameters for measuring your success.  It puts you in control of determining your success on both a short term and long term basis. You can measure your success for this morning, or yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year – you get the idea. It’s simplistic to say that if you believe you are a success, then you are. But that’s the truth.

As a therapist, I see people who are wealthy, well known and educated professionals who have the self-esteem of a gnat and cannot acknowledge their successes in other areas of their life (actually, I don’t know about a gnat’s esteem issues, but you know what I mean). If I have everything other people consider signs of success, but I believe I’m a failure, am I a success or a failure?  Who determines my success? Me? Someone else?  In my opinion, I do. So how do I make the assessment? Well, first I have to have a standard of measurement.  Let’s break this down with real-life examples (it has to be my life because I can’t speak for anyone else). This morning I intended to:

  • Get the dirty dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher – DONE.
  • Take the dog to the dog park so he gets a good run – DONE
  • Water the bushes in the front yard – DONE
  • Make an appointment to get a haircut – DONE
  • Write an article for this blog before the daily mayhem starts – DONE.

Soooo. For this morning, so far, I am 100% success. Right? Yes, if these are my criteria for determining success. Note the word MY criteria. So what about my intentions for the day, the week, the month, the year, the rest of my life? Well, If I don’t have goals/intentions I have no way of measuring and will have to depend on what Aunt Mable, my dad, the town gossip, or people in my study group think and say. Ooops.

That’s not good if I want to be in control of my own life and my own success. It is critical that I know who I am, what I want, and how I can get there. I need to spend time n meditation, be faithful in recording my progress in my journal, and periodically evaluate my progress. 

How to write your goals in a way that is realistic, clear, and measurable is a subject for many blog articles and weekend seminars. You might want to start by reading the article Design Life Goals that Actually Work  The point I want to make here is that you can take control of your own success.

But what about that ladder? Well, if you climbed to the top, aren’t you a success in that area? Think about what you want to accomplish next and – duh – move the ladder.  So begin to determine what ladders you want to climb and what rungs the ladders need for you to get to the top.  Then when you get to the top of that very last ladder in your life you can say, “Wow, what a view.”

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