Measure Success Through the Process

Mar 3, 2014 -

How Do You Define Success?

When someone says that they ran a marathon or finished a triathlon, immediately what comes to mind is that the individual is successful, physically fit, and a hard worker. After all, why would we assume otherwise? To finish a marathon or triathlon is by no means an easy feat. Likewise, when someone says that they work at Google or Apple, we immediately give them credibility. The reason is because we have this positive image of Google and Apple as being leading technological companies. We automatically assume that if someone works for them, they must be successful in that they possess certain skills that are highly desirable in the workforce.

In a world where so much information is constantly thrown at us, we use heuristics or mental shortcuts to make judgments. But, the problem with looking at the end result is that we then tend to associate the accomplishment with success. For example, you may think to yourself that if you are able to finally land that job at Google, then you will consider yourself successful. Or when you save up $50 million dollars then you will view yourself as being successful.

Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the opposition he has encountered, and the courage with which he has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds…. -Orison Swett Marden

Chris Hadfield, a retired Canadian astronaut, believes this is how you set yourself up for a personal disaster. Even though Google is a large company and there are thousands of employees, most people in the world do not work at Google. In fact, relative to the entire population in the world, very few people work for Google. If you achieve a net worth of $50 million dollars you are considered to the in the top 0.002% of wealthy individuals in the world. While the latter is less likely to occur than the former, both of them are relatively rare occurrences. What happens when you don't achieve a net worth of $50 million or land a Google job, does that mean you are not successful?

While it is important to highlight your accomplishments on a resume, life is more about the preparation that is required for you to reach those peaks in life. The richness in life comes from the "challenges that we set for each other, and the way that we shape ourselves to rise to that challenge." In other words, life is much more about the journey of it all than the destination.

I think if there is any sort of meaning to life, its got to be something personal. How does the life you led affect your own conclusions about what's important to you? - Chris Hadfield

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