Before starting on a journey for success it is necessary to define it. Success can be defined in many ways, subjectively and objectively. For some it’s the attainment of wealth. For some it’s the achievement of a goal. For some it’s discovering happiness or love. The following quotes illustrate the array of success definitions.
- “Success -The attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.” -Webster’s Dictionary
Webster’s Dictionary’s definition is the most common view of success. It conjures up visions of people whose faces appear on our newspapers’ front pages and televisions on a daily basis; heads of nations, religious leaders, CEO’s of major corporations, sport figures, movie stars. We take notice of these renowned figures because they took a dream and achieved it to a degree where they are at the pinnacle of their career. If you take the time to read their biographies, you see they all share similar characteristics.
- “The real measure of success is how happy you are. I have a lot of friends who don’t have a lot of money, but they are a lot happier than I am, so I say they are probably more successful.” -Donald Trump (1990)
Wealth does not necessarily lead to happiness. Charles Schwab, president of the largest independent steel company, died broke. Howard Hughes, movie producer and millionaire died alone as a hermit. We read and hear stories about movie celebrities, sports figures and heads of major corporations who commit suicide or ruin their careers and lives using drugs. Money does not necessarily lead to happiness.
- “I’ve always told people to be successful you have to enjoy what you’re doing and right now I really enjoy what I’m doing.” -Donald Trump (2001)
What a difference a decade can make. It’s known Donald Trump enjoys notoriety more than money whether it’s starring in a TV show or running for political office. Maybe that’s because he was born into money so it was always there. He had to work to gain fame.
- “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” -Bob Dylan
If you hate what you’re doing, even if you’re earning gobs of money, why do it. If you spend your day looking at the clock, counting the minutes until quitting time can you ever be happy? If you’re just starting a career, with 35 years until retirement, and hate what you’re doing, you may not live a long life but it will certainly feel that way. Many people never achieved success because they didn’t give themselves the chance to follow their dreams. Either due to financial necessity, family pressures or timely opportunity, they chose careers that looked financially rewarding or prestigious. Now, they are serving a life sentence. The good news is that it’s always possible to get early parole.
- “Success is being able to come home, lay your head on the pillow and sleep in peace.” -Herschel Walker
Some careers or jobs require people to do things that conflict with their values. The result is coming home only to relive their conflicts in bed. Therefore, an integral step to achieve success is to identify one’s values and determine if they are in harmony with one’s goals.
- “Those who achieve success are those who take a dream and make it come true.” -Dale Carnegie
Whether you have simple or grandiose dreams and goals, seeing them to fruition in a timely manner makes you a success. Acceptance to and graduating from dental school qualifies as a success in the same manner as election to a high political office or building a major corporation.1