what success looks like

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Excerpt from ESSAY II Self-Reliance

Could it be that I have been successful all these years and didn’t know it? What does success look like? I wonder if there is some sort of alarm or bell that alerts you when you are there. Is victory achieved through money, fame, friends, family, career or some other intangible attribute?

I see success. Do you?

there is that locust thing again

Who has jurisdiction over aptitude towards success? I do not relate with those who consider themselves victims of fate.  Locus of control is defined as “an individual’s generalized expectancies regarding the forces that determine rewards and punishments.”

Comprehending responsibility for my own level of success is half the battle. Rather than looking to others, I search inwards to count my fortunes. There are always uncontrollable factors (including crying) but I am not responsible for the outcome, only my reaction to them.

success is not self-evident

Is there a set pattern for success. I remember when I explored New York for an MBA course about leadership and the arts. The class was on tour of MOMA , when the docent asked us if art was self-evident?

this is what success looks like to me

Just that one question really got me thinking about art stereotypes and entitlement. I may look at something and think that it is crap, where you may walk up next to me and witness a masterpiece. Who is correct?

Similarly, success is subjective to the observer. I may look at someone who has a bigger house, faster car, smaller waistline, a real mermaid tail (had to throw in the mermaid reference somewhere), more money, etc. and think she is successful.

Alternately, she is contemplating that her car payments are too high, the house is impossible to keep clean, she has a tiny waist but no boobs (eek) she is afraid of water and therefore can’t swim in her glorious tail…

The point is that I see triumphs that go on seemingly forever. All she sees is a list of flaws. Unfortunately she is right about her success. If she fails to realize her wins, she is somehow inadequate. Success comes from within.

success and entitlement

Next question; should we be entitled to success simply by existing? I guess you can call breathing a success because you are alive. However, I see success as continually moving forward. The direction may change course along the way, but it is moving all the same.
Success  is derived from action. It may not be grand action and the gain might be small but it still adds up. If it is not up to others to determine whether or not I am successful, I must decide the outcome for myself.How does success look to you? What victories can you tally? Are you happy with the success you have achieved or are you still wanting more? Share your thoughts and stories.

4 thoughts on “what success looks like

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