Success

What Failure Isn’t

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As I previously discussed about what success is and is not, I think it is appropriate to have the same discussion about failure, before I move on.  If you are to experience any success in life, then it is almost certain that you will experience setbacks along the way.  In fact, the more success you have, the more “failure” you will encounter before, during and after that success.  Remember this and keep it in front of you continually.  Print it in big letters and keep it in front of you.  Refer to it often. 

What Success is: The Starting Point 

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Now that we know what success is not, how do we define what it is?  Maybe what you always thought was true has now been turned upside down.  That’s okay.  That’s more than okay; you are now at the starting point of an incredible journey.  One that may even take you places that you never dreamed you would go.  You may even see some old childhood dreams re-emerge.  One thing is for sure, if you stay on the path you have now begun, and work at it continually, you will have real success.  Most of all have fun!  Dale Carnegie once said, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” 

What Success Isn’t

Before defining what real success is, it is important to discover what success is not.  The world and our troubled

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society have had a lot to do with most people’s current definition of success.  If you were to take a field trip to your local mall and stand at one of the entrances, you would get a fair cross section of society.  If you asked each person who walked by you to define success in their life, you would get many different answers.  The answers would be just as varied as the people who pass by.  I would be willing to bet, though, that the vast majority of these answers would revolve around the following themes: power, prestige, fame and the big ones, money and possessions. 

Have You Failed Most of the Time? 

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People who succeed know one important fact; In order to get to success, they must experience failure on a massive scale.  For anyone who has read self-help or motivational books, I will not go through the pains of boring you about the countless Hall of Fame baseball players who have failed over 75% of the time (and these guys are the best at what they do).  You are probably not a professional baseball player, nor is it likely that you are trying to secure a spot for yourself in the Hall of Fame.  The point is, that the best of the best know this “secret.”   

Real Success Starts With Failure 

I know many people will dislike the above words, but they are true.  The kind of real success that I am talking about is much more than society’s version of success, i.e., a big house, a fancy car and a wad of money.  Funny thing is that I happen to know people like that, we all do.  Many times those people are not successful because there is no sense of fulfillment and not much to life beyond their career and quest for money.  There is the crowd who went to college, got a good job and has been climbing the corporate ladder, never looking back.  I am really happy for those types, if they want me to be, but I’m appealing to someone else here. 

Change Your Motivation

It has been said, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.”ii  I think this truth has been lost in the world today.  People run around trying to accumulate things.  They work long hours in an effort to get more stuff.  They sacrifice time spent with family and friends to feel successful.  What is the fruit of all this materialism?  Everywhere marriages are falling apart; children who never get the benefit of a relationship with their parents, and emptiness and despair as people reach for more of everything. 

What’s Your Purpose?

We are taught at an early age that if we try hard enough we can be whatever we want.  I do believe this, to a certain extent, but it misses the point of real success.  Yes, if I spend my life working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week staying on top of all the financial journals and magazines, neglecting my wife and kids, forgoing real opportunities to do good in society and to help others then there is a very real possibility that I can be successful in making some money.  If I did this, though, I would be miserable and so would everyone around me.  I would add no real value to the world.  I would just be a slave to what I think success is. 

My Experience With Success

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As we begin our journey, I would like to share with you my personal experiences with success as the world and popular society defines it and what I have come to know as true, lasting and real success.  My journey began, like everyone else, as a child.  It’s when we are young and impressionable that our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors are formed.  They affect the rest of our lives, and for many people, it is never realized that they may develop these characteristics in an atmosphere that isn’t or wasn’t supportive of real success. 

Success

We learn to walk by the time we are one; we learn to ride a bike by the time we’re six, about the same time we are starting school. We learn to drive by the time we are sixteen.  We get married, have kids and then retire.  We do this, most of us anyway, without learning about success.  I’m talking about real success.  Some of us may have learned society’s version of success and that is precisely why we are unhappy and unfulfilled.  Of true success, we know very little or even nothing.  Many of us never learn what success is and what it isn’t.  We don’t understand what failure is or what it isn’t.