We can define success on our own terms. I know what you’re thinking. ‘All these self-help coaches sef’.
One thing I am sure of is that I am not a self-help coach. Another important thing (this is strictly for the record); I don’t like anything that relates to ‘self-help coaching’ or whatever that relates to it.
However, there are some things that on its own makes sense. Facts like 2+2 being equal to 4; whether in Burundi or Slovakia.
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One of such is success.
I pause to wonder why money is always the first thing that comes to mind whenever we hear the word success. Financial worth; this would mean every past Nigerian president; military or otherwise is an icon of success. You and I know that this assumption is farther from the truth.
What do I consider success? It is finding your path in life and being the best at it. That is my definition of the word success. The dictionary defines it same but different in structure.
‘The accomplishment of an aim or purpose’.
Let me tell a story about two of the greatest accomplished rappers I know.
These men are both wealthy. One is worth about twenty million dollars while the other is worth half a billion of the same dollars. People perceive the wealthier one better because he has more money.
At some point in their careers, these men engaged in stiff competition to the extent that they were attacking each other’s personality through their music. All in the bid to ensure that they maintain the number one spot on the music rating board. In the end, the less wealthy rapper was crowned the victor by a unanimous decision.
In one of the interviews that followed, the victor/less wealthy rapper was asked if there was any other context for his victory apart from beating a rival. And he spoke on success. He said his rival came into rap to make money and did. But for him, he came into rap because he had something to say. The money just came along.
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Now who would you say is more successful?
Sometimes we set the standard. We define the rules and the laws of our life. Therefore, success is on our own terms, not by what the world deems successful or what friends and peers and so on consider success. There may be a danger in this line of thoughts.
Now, do not misunderstand me. I am not saying there’s something wrong with money/money-making. We are all laden with responsibilities. There are bills to pay and no matter how idealistic we want to be or sound, some of our needs can only be met with money. My point is, money shouldn’t be an end in itself. Money shouldn’t be accorded that much power. Money is a tool. It is a means to an end.
And if money is your definition of success, by all means, go ahead and make all the money you want. Just be sure that it is your definition of success, and not what society, your parents, or your partner expect of you.
There is another heartwarming story that I want to share with us. It’s about a teacher who had the option of staying in the small town she grew up in and marrying her sweetheart or leaving to pursue in full her dream of being a renowned teacher. She followed her dream and gave most of her productive years to her career.
Then came a time for her to retire from active service. Her retirement coincided with her seventieth birthday. She decided to celebrate this special occasion in her home town. There was a service for her in the local church. Traveling alone for this occasion, she wondered if she had done right by not marrying like most of her mates. She asked herself, was it right that I chose career?
Imagine her surprise when there was a knock on the door, and on opening, she found several people at the door with food and drinks and the excitement on their faces. They settled in and began to introduce themselves to her. Among them was a senator, two lawyers, doctors, carpenters, car racers – people from different walks of life.
What was the one thing these people had in common?
They had all been her students at some point or the other. If that isn’t success, I don’t want to know what is.
They say ‘follow your heart but take your head with you’. We all can be successful if only we can stop following the crowd and start doing what we really want. It could be to make a billion dollars or to have a billion followers on social media or even to have an NGO for abused children.
We can all be successful. It just depends on our version of success.
What does success mean to you? Let us know in the comments!
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