What if?

What if?

What if we stopped seeing success as material wealth? What would that look like? Would the beggar you passed yesterday be more or less successful than the film or pop star who died this year or last of a drug or alcohol overdose? Would the woman picking tea on the foothills of the Himalayas be more or less successful than the directors of the multi-national company that packs that tea into boxes and sells it to supermarkets?

What if?

What if we stopped seeing success in terms of achievements? Would the girl who came last in the swimming race, or the boy who failed all his exams be any more or less successful than the girl who won the trophy or the student who got straight As?

Are you struggling with this idea?

What if?

What if we substitute the word “worth” for the word “success?”

Would the beggar you passed yesterday have more or less worth than the film or pop star who died this year or last of a drug or alcohol overdose? Would the woman picking tea on the foothills of the Himalayas have more or less worth than the directors of the multi-national company? Would the girl who came last in the swimming race, or the boy who failed all his exams have any more or less worth than the girl who won the trophy or the student who got straight As?

It’s easy then, to see the answer is No.

What if?

What if we have this all topsy-turvy?

What if success is love? What if worth is love? What if success if compassion? What if self-compassion is success? What if breathing is success? What if smiling when you are happy is success? What if crying when you are sad is success? What if grieving when someone dies is success? What if feeling awe at the smell of pine-needles is success? What if feeling gratitude when you see a rainbow at sunset is success? What if remembering a blind person can’t see that rainbow, and wondering what it’s like for them is success?

What if you are success, right now, whatever you are doing, however you are, just because you exist?

what if

I love comments! What do you think success is? Please drop me a comment with your definition!

What is your definition of success?

Comments

  1. I hope I haven’t missed something here but I do have a caveat. I think! You will correct me if I’ve misunderstood. What if success – traditional reward/recognition success – drives improved conditions and progressive human endeavour? Would Watson and Crick have unravelled DNA without being egotistical sods? Would it have happened so soon? Would someone else have done it for love, rather than recognition? How many Nobel prize winners accept the accolades because it shines a light on their field of study or helps raise funds, rather than for the kudos? And without the benefit of the potential for the kudos would they have gone the extra mile? Some of course do but what of those that don’t? I love the idea that we celebrate worth rather than irrelevant goals and your post makes a valid point but somewhere along the line altruism hasn’t always been that driver that leads to the great leaps that aids man’s condition. Sadly it’s the same driver that causes conflict and despotic agrandisement

  2. Author

    Geoff, that’s all success too, yes! The only thing I’ve done here is expand the definition a bit, because we are so used to thinking of success (and worth) as being for these bigger things you mention. For my dad, in his later years, just walking to the bathroom with a zimmer frame was success.
    And didn’t the guy who split the atom deeply regret it afterwards? So was he successful, or not?

  3. Oh this is such a great contribution. Definitely makes one think!
    I do think that being successful is being true to yourself and not living for others…
    I once read something that said, when we are dead it does not read on our tombstone “he was second best in class”, “she never got that promotion” etc.

I love getting comments and reply to every one. Tell the world (and me) what you think!