Exactly..!!! I bet you thought something like – “It depends…”
It depends on what your personal definition of success is and under what criteria ‘success’ is being measured.
As an advanced society, we collectively tend to judge success in financial terms. But when we dig in, at a personal level, I believe the vast majority of us look to other factors with greater importance and weight to make a final judgement.
After all, if we are judging on marital fidelity Jeff Bezos wouldn’t be held in high esteem as of lately. So, in other words, if I wanted to know the secret of a long lasting, happy marriage, I’m gonna look for someone else to get advice from. On the other hand, if we are assessing fidelity to one’s deep beliefs and unwavering faith, Mother Theresa is a wonderful example we can all learn from.
So, what is your personal definition of success when it comes to business? If your singular focus is to give Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates a ‘run for the money,’ this is probably not the right blog for you.
If, however, you want to build a solidly performing business that can consistently support your family, then you are in the right place.
As I have mentioned in other blog posts, it is one’s ability to think with maturity that provides the greatest opportunity at success in business.
Scientific research shows that people in midlife have a greater capacity to learn and absorb new ways of thinking due to increased “Plasticity”:
The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. “. . . Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain. . . . ‘Plasticity’ is the term neurologists use to describe the brain’s ability to change. Your brain grows new connections as you learn new skills. The change is gradual as your brain cells develop new connections to speed the efficiency of new skills acquired.” (http://www.talentsmart.com/about/emotional-intelligence.php)
So, because people with more life experience will typically have greater plasticity, does that mean they are guaranteed to eclipse younger people in the category of success?
Exactly – of course not. It depends entirely on our own definition of success…
Is working 70 hours a week and making hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year success – to some it absolutely is, to others the sacrifice is not worth it and they would consider that a resounding failure. Mother Theresa most likely toiled at her passion with as much vigor as Jeff Bezos did at Amazon but with vastly different objective – has either of them contributed to mankind more than the other? Ask the disabled person who is shut in and now uses Amazon to get necessary supplies delivered right to their door, or ask that same person how much impact did Mother Theresa personally have on their life.
Is no longer having to worry about money and having no bills to pay a successful life-style to strive for? I bet most of you think it would be. But, what about if that meant you lived in a grass hut with no running water or bathroom facilities, in a third world country, in the middle of nowhere – Still a success?
And one more – what if that grass hut was on an amazing secluded island away from everything with warm, tropical, crystal clear waters and you purposefully chose to live there 1-2 months a year to enjoy complete solitude and refresh your mind as a retreat?
I hope that little exercise helped you come to a place wherein you are becoming in full control of your personal, individual definition of success and most importantly, to understand that almost all advancement in our standard societal definition of “success” comes at a price.
It is your personal responsibility to determine what success means to YOU and to do you’re very best to block out all the noise and confusion. Take control of your self-determined destiny and grab the life you want for you and those that matter most to you.
And by the way, when it really comes down to it, I personally have more respect for Mother Theresa than I do Jeff Bezos. In my humble opinion, Jeff created Amazon to be a successful business and to make money – if I was to judge that negatively would be to make me a total hypocrite because that is what I have done for my entire adult life – helping the disable shut-in is a by-product of his efforts. However, Mother Theresa set out from the start to help people and dedicated her entire life to servitude and she was massively successful in achieving her goals.
Now to be fair, if Jeff starts to follow in Bill Gates footsteps and uses his massive wealth for helping hundreds of thousands or millions of people he has never met then I will give credit where credit is due and Jeff will gain a special place in this one man’s mind. Until then, yes Jeff is very high on the list within the realm of what most Americans deem successful and I wish him all the best, but for this guy – I’ll keep my life just the way it is. How about you?
What is your personal and individual definition of success?
Has it changed over time?
Are you open to it changing?
For more in-depth help and guidance in defining your personal definition of success, Chapter 2 in my book digs in and is a great resource.
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