What is True Success?
In our lives we are all involved in work, our jobs, as well as our families. That gives us both the professional and personal aspects of our lives. Many of you know I have referenced Tom Morris and his books, in particular True Success, A Philosophy of Excellence and Plato’s Lemonade Stand. They are both very helpful in our lives. I have referenced them many times.
Everyone seems to have some formula for us to follow to achieve success. Some are about market share, or customer service, or parts availability or labor efficiency. However, let me ask a question. These measures, while extremely important, do they make you successful? Is that how you define your success? I don’t think so.
I still remember, as if it were yesterday, when I was looking for my first job after finishing my university career – what was it that I wanted to do? What was my passion? What excited me? I had no clue. I was too young and I had no real-life experiences from which to make the choices necessary. From where I am now, I wonder how it is that we are supposed to be able to answer these questions. My grandchildren are in Gen Z. Recently at a family meal, I asked them both what they wanted to do. My grandson is a Junior in High School. He has many things that he is interested in and cannot make a selection yet. My granddaughter who is a Senior in University has a little more clarity. She is taking Biology with a focus on Genetics. It would seem clear that she has a path she is following. Yet it is clear that nothing could be further from the truth. She doesn’t know yet either. One of the troubles today is that there are so many choices. I always told (and still tell) people, particularly when I was teaching Education at University, that everyone should leave their options open as long as possible. When I was out looking for work the people that influenced my life – my parents, teachers, advisors, and counsellors all told me the same thing. Take your time. Whatever you choose that will be where you will work for the rest of your life. That was 1968. Things have definitely changed.
Today the average number of jobs that an individual will have over the work life for men is 12.5 jobs and women 12.1 jobs. It takes that many before a person can make their own selection of their life’s work. But then we still have the question that needs to be answered. What is success? Is it status in the community? Is it money? Is it your job title? I submit to you it is happiness.
For this particular subject I have to turn to psychology and psychiatry. Those two particular disciplines deal with the human experience in many ways. From the challenges that various groups of people have in learning or reading or concentration to depression and other human issues they have more knowledge than most in what success means.
I am currently reading a book, What Happy People Know, by Dan Baker, PhD, Director of the Life Enhancement Program at Canyon Ranch (This is a pioneering wellness resort which helps people make a lasting transformation that inspires people to find their “well way of life) and Cameron Stauth. The book cites research that has shown that the root of unhappiness – fear – lies in the oldest, reptilian part of our brains, and negative reactions are often dictated by primal instincts. In other words, we are “hard wired” for hard times. Over the past twenty-one months, since March of 2020, we have experienced hard times. This has been a very challenging time. We are all hoping that 2022 will bring us more positivity.
The book is designed to help us, and it has helped me, to understand that in order to be successful – we have to be happy. The authors give you a road map to happiness by breaking down the elements and qualities of Happiness. You get a very detailed description of how each of these qualities can be influences in your life in the book. I am simply listing them here now:
Of this list of a dozen elements, I relate to many. Let me focus on Purpose first. Without a Sense of Purpose, you will flounder. Most of you, by now, understand that our purpose, at Learning Without Scars, is to help people identify their individual potential and then we provide tools to allow them to realize their potential. Many of you will see that purpose as a difficult of not an impossible mission. Obviously, we have a different view on that. One of my fundamental beliefs is that “Everyone wants to do a good job.” This is followed with the fact that “everyone can do more than they think they can.” Put those two facts together and you see the seeds of understanding individual potential.
One of the challenges many of us face is that we get “stuck.” We get stuck in our jobs, in an Industry, a Company, a department. We are stuck and unfulfilled, and bored, and clearly, we are not challenged. But we need the job and don’t want to move, because we don’t think we can replace the job. We are anxious, we are afraid. Whenever I find this situation, I ask the question “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
There is a fresh question for me to consider in the book. “Am I living a life I love?” Perhaps that is a little too theoretical for most of you. But think about that. Isn’t that a terrific question to be asking yourself? Of course, it is. There is an interesting aspect to this question and the work of these authors. They always, every time, provide something that each person has to do. Some action. This is not simply a theoretical exercise. They are trying to create a perspective of success. Of happiness. Nothing is allowed to get in the way. For instance, many of us will use our health or bad habits as a “reason” that we can’t do something. They do not accept that excuse. They give us a perspective to consider with an interesting quotation. “Health is the optimal condition of being that allows for the ultimate engagement in life.” If you smoke or are overweight, they suggest you make the best of that reality. No excuse and no reason for inaction. It seems that there is a trigger when we leave our fear behind and pursue a life we love. I strongly suggest that everyone read this book. I think it could make a difference in your life.
This is the ultimate place to ask that age old question “What If?” Can you improve your life? Your job performance? Your family life? Your relationships? I am by nature an optimist. I know the answer to these questions for my life. Of course, I can. I just need to start. To take some action. To get on the path to success. Care to join me?
The Time is Now.
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