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We’re often told that success is in the eye of the beholder — that we need to define it for ourselves, on terms that are meaningful to us.
I believe that’s true but that advice doesn’t tell us how to do it. Try as we might, many of our achievements wind up fitting a mold that suits somebody else — employers, parents, societal expectations — at least as much as, if not more than, it suits us personally. And we still find ourselves left unsatisfied or unhappy, wishing we had something more or something else, no matter how ‘successful’ we’ve been.
Sales success is about getting people to buy something you’ve created. Your book is a commercial hit! Everybody’s reading it, everybody’s talking about it, you’re on TV. You sell hundreds and then thousands and then millions of copies. Dump trucks beep while backing into your driveway before pouring out endless shiny coins as royalty payments. Sales success is about money. How much did you sell?
Social success means you’re widely recognized among your peers and people you respect. Critical success. Industry renown! To extend the book example, let’s say the New York Times reviews your latest novel and some writers you respect send you letters saying they thought the book was great (whether or not it’s a commercial hit).
Self success is in your head. It’s invisible. Only you know if you have it, because it corresponds to internal measures you’ve established on your own. Self success means you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve. For yourself. You’re proud and satisfied with your work.
In order to be truly happy with your successes, you first need to decide what kind of success you want.
Are you in marketing? Sales success means your product flew off the shelves and your numbers blew away forecasts. Social success means you were written up in prestigious magazines, nominated for an award, or shouted out by the CEO at the all-hands meeting. Self success? That’s the same: How do you feel about your accomplishments?
I am interested in ideas be it primitive or modern
“How can I be successful?” It’s a question many of us ask ourselves and have trouble answering. Because what is success, anyway?
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