There is No Secret to Success

There is no Secret to Success

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“What do you want to be when you leave school” I recently asked a teenage student. “I don’t really mind”, she said “as long as I am successful”.

The great thing about her answer was that in reality it meant she could never be a failure.

Success doesn’t really exist. Because it is such a subjective concept, being successful is whatever you want it to be. We are only successful if we determine that we are.

One person may consider success to be a happy relationship. Another may deem that without a nice car parked outside a dethatched house, success has not yet been achieved. For some having a million pounds in the bank is an indication of success while for others not having an overdraught or maxed out credit card allows them to feel successful.

The idea then that one can be successful is totally dependent on that persons’ definition of what success is in the first place.  In fact the only time you can gauge if you have been successful in life is by looking back on your life, working out what the areas of importance were and considering whether or not you reached your own expectations in those areas.

It has been said that true success cannot be measured by material means, implying that it can be reached by non material means. But even if the first statement is true it doesn’t mean the second is also true.

Success is a feeling, an emotion; it cannot be picked up or touched. Just as fear, love, joy, excitement are emoted deep within our psyche, success is in our heart our consciousness and in our mind. It is only achieved if and when we have ‘the feeling’ of success

To understand success we first should take a look at failure. What might our life look like if we did not achieve the standard in all or any areas of our life that we wanted to? This is one possible definition of failure. By considering if we have failed or not will gave us a base level for success. One might even argue that anything above the base level of failure can be considered a success.

Success however is more than simply not failing. Success is the achievement of reaching a predetermined expectation for our self. A person who participates in a 100 meter race may still feel successful even if they did not win the race. If their expectation for themselves was to finish the race in any position apart from last place and they finish 9th out of 10 then they have been successful.

It is impossible to judge someone else to be successful unless you know their pre-determined expectations for themselves in that specific are of their life. Success is personal, it is subjective not objective. For this reason trying to decide whether or not another person has been successful would simply be you forcing your definition of success onto the other person. This has no reality attached to it.

Therefore success, if there is such a thing can only be measured by achieving more, or doing better than our own expectations for ourselves.