Thursday, April 19, 2007

Defining Success

TWO DAYS AGO, a good friend has asked me to write an essay on the “standard/s of success”. I wasn’t able to quickly respond to her because I was quite busy at the time she requested me. I guess it was an urgent matter for her considering that she has a personal mission in dire of being accomplished, and that is something related to being ‘successful’.
My guessing further carried me into imagining that she’ll be submitting the essay as part of the requirements for another job application, that I can only suspect. (and I suppose that’s a story for a future post).
The moment I came back to my senses and took the work load off my back, I immediately turned into her one line request which was transmitted through the channels of a Yahoo messenger. The instinct in me wanted to help her, but I was more adamant of doing so while making up for an appropriate and friendly response. Being an advocate in promoting reading, writing and appreciation of conversational and written language, I decided that I would turn his request down and ultimately disappoint her.
The reason is simple. I wanted her to feel the way chickens do when they lay their eggs, hatch them and turn them into beautiful and radiant chicks. I would like it if she personally wield her mind’s thoughts into an essay that she will be proud of.
So what I did instead was give her cent-worth of pointers on how she’ll be able to come up with her own article.
How does one define success?
Is it something that can be seen, touch, hear or feel?
Can success be measured?
What kind of metrics?
Is it even measureable?
Is owning a car, a house on a hillside premiere subdivision an indicator of success?
Is winning a position in the government equates to being an achiever.
Define success in its own terms, the way you would explain how to prepare a fruit salad to a five year old child.
Suddenly, I remember a conversation a couple of years ago. Similarly, it occurred in a group chat session of several friends in the office. One of them, who resigned a couple of years already, expressed his emotions when he attended a reunion party with his school batch. His experience was a mixture of varying impulses because he was able to see again his old friends he probably haven't seen in a long time. Sadly (and unwillingly, I supposed), it has been made as an occasion where he would compare his accomplishments as opposed to his 'successful' classmates, when one of them sported a Ford Explorer (I can't remember the other details) coupled with stories of success.
During the group chat, he posed a question that touches on being successful. He even blasted and presumed that society only looks up to you as successful if you dress up the way millionaires do.
Eventually, I wasn't able to withstand his opinion and offered bits of friendly notes saying that I don't see it his way. It really all depends on how a person define successful.
Rearing a child inside a womb for 9 months and letting him/her out into the world is already a success for a woman.
For some, doing community service or voluntary work may already mean successful.
Seeing a child prosper in school work, in the eyes of a father is already a big achievement.
So, how do you define success?

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