Most of our lives are spent around the perpetual chase for success. We all strive to be successful, to be recognised, even idolised. But what constitute as a success anyway? What is success? And how do we measure success? Well, read on and find it out for yourself here.
What Is Success?
For most people, the simplest answer is money, or at least related to money in one way or another. Being successful means having a lot of money. Hence, achieving success means earning a lot of money, right?… Well… Not quite…
While it is true that most successful people tend to be financially rich, or at least have the potential to earn a lot of money (much more than what we are able to earn within our own lifetimes). But does it really mean that money is what success is all about?… Not exactly… While I do have to admit that money is the most sensible yard-stick that most people will be able to measure a person’s success against, it’s not the only criteria, but at least it’s a quantifiable value.
Why Our Fascination With Success?
- Be Successful In Stock Market.
- How To Communicate Success?
- How To Achieve Financial Success?
- 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People.
- Success In The Boardroom And Beyond.
- What Successful People Have In Common?
Why are we attracted to books, seminars, or even editorials in magazines that we pick up while waiting for our turn with the dentist. Everybody wants to be successful. But not everybody can achieve it.
Based on the example above, the more people are attracted to the notion of success, the more successful the authors and speakers of the above topics will become. How so? Well, they get to sell more books, and get full bookings for their seminar gigs.
No, I’m not implying that what they share in their books or seminars doesn’t have any truth in it. Quite the contrary. What I’m saying is to make others successful, it takes more than just telling them to do what you did that made you successful in the first place. There is no such thing as a secret formula that can be applied across the board for everybody.
But sifting through the vast oceans of the internet (with a healthy dose of scepticism, mind you) I was actually inspired – believe it or not – by a YouTube video. So take a look at it before you proceed to the end of this article.
Am I Successful? What Does Success Mean To Me?
Am I successful?… Well… I wouldn’t say that I am, at least not financially. But then again, this question seems a little dubious at best. A better question would be asking what success actually means to me. That will be a lot easier for me to answer.
You see, being able to do what I like doing in the first place is already success in itself. I have always been interested in photography, even back in my school days. So making a living in the photography and photofinishing industry seems to be like a dream come true… just not in a financial sense.
My Life In The Retail Digital Colour Lab
I was operating a retail colour lab in the early 2000’s, when the commercialisation of digital photography was sweeping across the world like a tsunami. Many retail colour labs, like the one I was operating, were being caught in the wave of uncertainty. Customers who actually printed their holiday photos, and then compile into physical albums, were starting to trade their film cameras for digital ones. That means most would simply store their digital images in hard disks or on optical discs, instead of printing them out. There number customers printing hard copy photos were taking a nose-dive, and it was hurting the bottomline very badly.
Fortunately, for me at least, I entered the industry with better computer skills and knowledge than the average colour lab retailer. You see, computers were the central hub of digital photography. Hooking up a computer, an inkjet photo printer, and swapping a film camera for a digital one in the photo studio, we were ready to face the onslaught of the digital customers. Selling memory cards and album design services rather than unexposed films and then developing them became the norm of the digital age. Business went on as usual, albeit with a slight change in our business model.
And for the remainder of my tenure in the retail colour lab business, I spent more time selling the digital imaging system to other retail colour labs (yes, the competitors) and supporting them with the consumables and digital services than actually running my own retail front.
I actually managed to keep many retailers like myself in business in the face of a total change in the industry. That in itself is already a success for me.
My Life In The Knowledge Industry
Fast forward several years later, when I ventured into the knowledge industry, my perspective of what success is has changed once again. In a world where the traditional practice is to churn out corporate trainees or graduates like a production line, my passion of actually imparting knowledge to my recipients were somehow frowned upon.
You see, I approach every training and teaching gig as an opportunity to share my own experience and knowledge, and then getting them to discuss, debate, or even dismiss the topic completely if they can come out with a better way to do what I was there to present to them in the first place.
My peers might call me a little bit crazy, but my philosophy on training and teaching is governed by only two mantras :-
 – That I am NOT the absolute subject expert in whatever topic that I am presenting. I am only there as a facilitator, a moderator, to encourage active participation and discussion among the participants. I am there to learn from them, just as much as they are there to learn from me.
 – By the end of the session / semester, I expect my participants to be more knowledgeable about the subject matter than I am. If I fail to do that, it means that I have failed in my duty to impart knowledge and skills to them… And I hate to fail…
So… Am I Successful?
In a certain sense, I suppose I am successful. But let’s take a more detailed look at what and how I define as success. At least in my own interpretation anyway.
Am I happy with my chosen career path? – Yes, I certainly am happy.
Am I earning a lot of money? – No… not even close.
Am I recognised as an expert in my chosen field? – Yes, I definitely am. Maybe not by the general public, but at least those who are familiar with my chosen field. And yes, it does feel good to be recognised.
Am I idolised as a hero in my chosen field? – Good heavens, no… And I don’t even encourage others to idolise anybody at all for that matter. If you like a certain style of your hero, by all means, try to emulate them. But one should never strive to be an identical copy of another individual. Once you master your hero’s style, it is time to develop your own style. It is time to write your own story, and not forever be a supporting cast in another person’s story.
At The End Of It All
At the end of it all, the story mentioned above is only my personal story, and how I see the world around me. But every person is an individual, and every individual have their own stories. And with it, their own measurement of success. So it is time to look into yourself, and determine if you are successful too.
Do you have your own success story that you would like to share? Leave a comment below.