Indisputably, all of us as humans do not only have the desire to succeed but to have notable and recognizable degrees of success. I have never in my entire life heard anyone declaring either expressly or implicitly that they want to fail in life.
We all want success. We want to be successful and feel successful. We chase money, fame, power, education, relationships and a thousand other things.
What Success is not
It’s easy to assume that success means obtaining a specific object, such as a job or social status, and to believe that if we get that thing, we’ll be successful. However, most of the greatest successes resulted from the worst failures. Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
What Is Success?
Success may look very simple and easy to define, however most of the definitions only provide a narrow view. Success is highly relative – what may be a state of success to someone may be a state of ‘’hell’’ to another person. Recently, I met an old time friend at a program. This is somebody I have not seen for a decade. We had a long conversation. Out of the conversation, I got to know that at age thirty three, he was a branch manager of one of the reputable banks in Ghana. I jumped into conclusion that all is well with my friend. My friend got to know that I was running my own show empowering accountants and businesses with Business Software Solutions such as, SAP® Business One, Sage X3, or IQ Retail. He also concluded instantly that I was blessed. At this point of the conversation, my thinking was that he was the successful one. On the other hand he did not only think but expressed that ‘’ you are the man’’. Then we delved into the challenges of our respective trades. He revealed that he has absolutely no time for himself and the family, resulting from long working hours, often stressed because of volumes of reports and targets to meet amongst others.
Though my friend had personal financial stability almost all the time because of assured monthly salary, he lacked the work life balance. On the other hand, I had time for myself and the family, flexible working hours and no stringent targets and reports but financially unstable as a result of the young stage of my business.
None of us is wrong and most people will not be wrong with their definitions, however being like someone doesn’t necessarily make you successful. Many people have fought and struggled to the top only to feel miserable and burned out once they get there. They’re unhappy because they pursued the wrong definition of success—one that didn’t match their values.
The Price of Success
Absolutely nothing is created or made out of nothing, everything is created out of something. This also means there is a price to be paid for every desired state or thing in life. For my friend and I, the price we were paying for our respective successes is the opportunity cost posed by the challenges of our trade. To that student who wants to have academic excellence, that constant sacrifice of personal pleasures for studies and research could be the opportunity cost. For the sales person who wants to achieve sales stardom, constant sales strategy implementation and absolute hard work could be the price.
From the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night”. Success must be carefully and deliberately baked and or crafted. Success that are usually attained out of sudden flights never stand the test of time. They sometimes inflict pains and untold failures.