Now, don’t bury me before I die. Hear me out first.
I believe that it’s fantastic to earn lots of money, drive unusual cars, travel the world, and so forth. These are the measures of success that are flashed in the faces of young people every day.
Nonetheless, I think we’re missing something out in our definition of success. We’re guilty of a logical fallacy called hasty generalization. Consider the following examples:
- Because the guy who crashed into my car this morning is a 23-year old, therefore all 23-year old men are reckless drivers.
- James earns lots of money. So James is a successful guy.
Examples 1 and 2 are similar because the conclusion was reached before we gathered sufficient facts to back up our claim.
Someone (probably not Einstein) said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Therefore, if we generalise the standard of success in life to be the ability to climb trees, only arboreal animals will be termed successful.
Similarly, concerning riches, when we put an absolute parameter for success in life as the amount of money a person is worth or makes, we are excluding other parameters that measure success in other areas of life.
In December 2013, Time magazine created a list of the most significant figures in history. Although the list is controversial, the first five names in the list were Jesus, Napoleon, Mohammad, Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln. Many of those featured on the list were never considered among the richest in their time. However, they were considered influential in their areas of specialization: national leadership, science, literature, religion etc.
In my opinion, our present, widespread definition of success is distracting. This wrong definition is the reason that some persons (especially males and young people) are under unnecessary pressure to make money that they do not need. Not everyone needs lots of money to be successful! (Wow, it appears that I am puncturing the ideas of pundits. I love this!)
So, what is success? This will be the subject of my next post! Do stick around.
Remain on top.