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Success Is a Good Thing

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January 15, 2013 in Business

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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


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4 responses to Success Is a Good Thing

  1. I must refer you to emersons essay on compensation. please familiarize yourself with it and that will serve as my answer to you on whether or not something can truly be good and bad for someone else. I think that it’s best for someone to profit by failure. Most successful people profit from failure.

  2. I’ve read your post and i would say that there is a universal standard for success which would obviously be happiness. But i wish to ask you: do you think that greed and selfishness is not destructive to the person who exercises it?

    • I don’t think success is selfish – at least not in the way “selfish” is defined by the public. I think it’s selfish to want other people to fail because they’re not reaching success the way you define it. I want everybody to succeed, i.e. everybody to be happy. Succeeding makes people happy.

      But like I said above, everybody defines success their own way. Only a Sith deals in absolutes! :)

      And yes – greed can be destructive and I would define that as a failure, whether or not money was achieved in it. Money in and of itself is not a measure of success. Stealing is not success. Success is something that benefits the subject materially and spiritually. Failure may benefit someone materially but it degrades them spiritually.

      “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.”

      If you can think of an example, let me know.

      • I think the type of people who think Bill Gates should give them a handout just because hes Bill Gates are selfish…Not that hes a saint or anything. Everyone gets a fair shot because this is America. Most people start off in the same position. If you make it, you make it…If you don’t that’s tough luck. That’s the way the world works.

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