Success Is a Good Thing
January 15, 2013 in Business
Around me I hear people saying things that make me wonder if I’m in an Ayn Rand book.
“Success is selfish.”
“You have to be corrupt to succeed.”
“I don’t want to be successful; I don’t care about money.”
I think the problem is partially that people misunderstand what success is. The individual measure of success is personally derived and determined. There is no universal standard of success. People have different personalities, interests, talents, experiences and, most relevantly, goals.
Success is doing something that you like, doing it well and getting some sort of reward for it, even if that reward is simply the opportunity to keep doing it. Often the reward comes in the form of money – oh those dirty dollars! – but it can come in the form of positive recognition, a promotion or break, or just the good feelings inside of you for achieving something you wanted to.
To me, every blog post I manage to sit down and write is a success. What do I get for it? No money, that’s for sure. I’m excited if the hits reach double digits. It’s success because I’m reaching a personal goal and doing something I believe in.
For one reason or another, “success” in our culture connotes greed, cheating, selfishness and caring about materialism more than humanitarianism. But I ask you, “Is failure good?” Who benefits from failure? Nobody. Who benefits from success? At least you but maybe others.
I may have a lofty image of success, but to me, it’s only real if it genuinely helps the person achieving it; I feel that’s intrinsic to its definition. Conversely, failure is something that negatively affects its subject. Can something be truly good for a person, i.e. helping them grow and prosper, not corrupt and wither, while at the same time be bad for someone else? I can’t think of an example, but if you can, let me know.
Not only should we want success for ourselves but we should want it for others; why not? Don’t we want to live in a world where people do what they love? Wouldn’t success breed happiness? Instead of making someone feel bad for their success, address the real problem and figure out what you’re not doing to help yourself.
Never shrink from achieving success because you’re afraid you’re being greedy or shallow. Always defy those who want to minimize your achievements or make you second guess them. You are your master and highest authority on Earth. Keep doing what you do. Success means you’re living your life to its potential.
Originally published on “Confessions of a Conservative Punk“