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What does success mean?

donotuseWEBSuccess is a result of positive potential

One of the aspects in life that after 26 years I am only beginning to understand is that there is no universal definition of success. It is highly subjective and varies tremendously depending on the context within which it is defined. Success can be a win or a failure. The best way I can describe success is that it is one’s ability to recognize positive potential in the outcome of an event or series of events. The recognition of positive potential is the secret recipe and the very essence of success.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who are frustrated, depressed and some, in extreme cases, who have given up on life because the oasis of success has been only a mere mirage in their lives. Every attempt they make at being successful ends in disappointment because their goals aren’t met. However, therein lies the problem, which is that even though a goal wasn’t achieved, one must be able to determine if there is any positive potential and benefit to be gained, no matter how big or small.

Today, we live in a world of instant gratification. Instant messaging, online shopping and high-speed Internet are just a few of the many vehicles that bring us what we want, when we want it and how we want it. Immediacy is the new world order and, as such, we have grown to expect that sort of immediacy in the development of our personal lives. In addition, globalization has significantly raised the benchmark of success. With access to so much information, we can now measure ourselves against millions of other individuals faced with similar challenges. This can easily be discouraging, as success can appear to be well out of reach.

I believe that there is a growing gap between society’s model of success and success as an internal assessment of one’s achievement. Success should start within rather than externalized. There are many public figures that we consider successful, rich and perfect, but we have witnessed too many times how this can be a gross misinterpretation – just consider the lives of the late Heath Ledger or Robin Williams.

Every day, we are being taunted with the ‘Shake n Bake’ model of success, and have come to believe that there is a specific sequence or series of steps to success. If we believe that success is instant, we will never realize it. We have to start thinking of success not as an ultimatum, but rather as the compounding impact of positive potential. For every positive outcome, no matter how big or small, one must be able to recognize and determine how it fits into the larger scheme of their ideal model of self-fulfilment.

About Frank Nordstrom