Every May, graduates hear the famous, rich, and prominent give commencement speeches. Most sound alike. The foundation of all is “be successful.”
The definition of success is like quicksilver. When you think you have it, it disappears. What do most people consider success?
To the writer, it is the New York Times bestseller list. Make that list, and you’ve made it.
To blog writers, it is the number of “shares.” The more indicates man people follow you.
To social media entrepreneurs, it is retweets and shares.
To businessmen, it is profits and market share.
To a speaker, it is invitations overwhelming their email inbox.
Each is indicative of how difficult it is to define success. Yet, when you look into the lives of the successful, it is not as pretty.
At one time, Howard Hughes was the richest man in the world. He founded the Hughes Tool Company (now Baker Hughes), Hughes Aircraft, RKO Studios, and was a driving force in Trans World Airlines. He had billions when a billionaire was rare.
Yet, with all his fortune and fame, he could not keep a marriage together and died a disheveled recluse.
It is easy to want the trappings of success without the dangers of success. Yet few manage to keep their head together. Stephen Covey observed:
So, what is a success? What makes a person successful? What sum is the measuring stick? What position will finally make someone a “success?”
The best definition I have heard is not measured in money, fame, invitations, or lengthy write-ups.
A person is a success when he has the respect of those closest to him.
When a wife and children hold their husband and father in high esteem, he is a success. When close friends see him and think highly of his character, he is a success.
The ones who know the secrets, know the failings and faults are in the best position to judge a person. When they see view a person, warts and all, and still respect him, that man can be judged a success. He is that even if buried among the masses of humanity.
Remember Seneca’s observation.
Some die on the first rungs of the ladder of success, others before they can reach the top of their ambition through a thousand indignities realize at the end it’s only an inscription on their gravestone.
How do you measure success in your own life?