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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Success and Diligence

A person is recognized as successful when they achieve an objective, attain a goal or complete a task.

This is not the only measure of success, but it serves well.

It is success writ small.

This definition begs us to differentiate between succeeding at the small things, the interim things, and even the long term campaign, to differentiate between those things and the perception of a person as a success, write large, which are the differences between the verb, the adjective and the noun.

To be perceived as a success; by society, by one’s peers, friends or family, is different than succeeding or being successful at the fulfillment of individual goals; daily tasks, the weekly routine, the monthly program, or the annual campaign.

Let me reiterate:

A person is recognized as successful when they achieve an objective, attain a goal or complete a task.

This is what really matters, the small things that lead to the greater.

The objectives they strive for can be anything; from making the bed in the morning to abstaining from vice, from running a marathon to completing a college degree, from digging a ditch to learning how to fly.

It is the doing that matters, for to have done is not enough. If I may be cliché; it is the journey not the destination that forms our character, making us into the people we are too become.

When a person rises above their difficulties, faces down the challenges that come their way, whatever those challenges may be, on whatever occasion they present themselves, whether those challenges are expected or not, then the individual succeeds.

Some objectives are simple, some goals are one dimensional. Some tasks have a single movement, while others are more complex, multi-dimensional and ongoing.

To prepare for a marathon and to succeed at the running of it, the runner must first meet the challenge of hundreds of smaller objectives, a thousand minute goals strung together like pearls.

There are days and weeks and months of training, running and running and running more.

Each and every day there are objectives to be met.

On race day, the marathon itself will become broken down into a series of steps, one mile at a time, one turn around a corner, one slip around a bend, footfall by footfall climbing each and every hill; crossing the finish line
To succeed, especially in those long term objectives, the individual must take account of the myriad of uncontrollable variables that constitute the reality of daily living.

Unexpected things will happen, they must be accounted for and adjusted to.

Among those variables the competing goals and objectives of other people; other runners, other students, your professors, your teachers and your peers, your family, your intimate partner, your co-workers and colleagues, your employer, all of whom may having objectives of their own, even objectives for you, that compete with or present conflict for what you intend to do.

Even total strangers, people that are completely unknown to you, have interests that intersect with our own, that may present both challenges and opportunities for the fulfillment of our aims.

To complete a college degree, dozens of credits must be accumulated, classes taken, tuition paid; hundreds of tests and quizzes taken, books read, papers written; a thousand days or more spent attending class, learning and adjusting to the individual peculiarities and proclivities of each and every professor, hour upon hour of study.

The pursuit of that degree is a single objective, built on a shifting platform of interim goals, on which individuals will encounter their limitations, meet with failure, be forced to change direction, disentangle themselves from their ambitions, search for and discover alternate paths, all before they finally succeed, which they can if and only they persist.  

It requires constant discipline, commitment and deep engagement.

This is the frame-work within which success occurs, it is success writ small, in the only script that matters, for the only successes are the small ones, brick by brick, laying the foundation for the grand edifice.

Success writ large is another thing altogether

No matter how many times we write the story of our successes, to be a success, to be perceived as such by another, that is a con-game trading in illusions.

Success cannot be inherited.

Success is not the measure of a person’s wealth and holdings

Neither is success a measure of a person’s social standing.

Success is the measure of what you have done, in relation to what you had set out to do.

Success writ large, to be seen as such by another, to be viewed as the archetype of that moniker, that is like dwelling in a mirage.

A strong wind may blow it away.

To succeed at complex objectives, a person must hone their abilities, acquire the requisite skills, plan their actions accordingly, and their actions must be honest.

By the repetition of these steps, obstacles are overcome, while detriments are turned into benefits, like a judo master who has learned to use the strength of her opponent against him.

When a person succeeds it is always through diligence, determination, and the steady application of effort.

In order to create the life you have a dreamt about, you must pursue your goals with patience and unceasing engagement both, watching your dreams develop like you might watch the movement of water, like a wave making its progress to the pebbled shore, alternating slowly-imperceptibly as it moves through its peaks and troughs.

Practice mindfulness, and you will know when it is time to pour energy into your work, and when it is time to let it rest.

Both are important, and each in their time.

Even if we succeed at the small things, the larger measure may still escape us, we might never receive recognition or accolades for the things we do, and yet that should not deter us, not even a little bit.

Success writ large, to be seen as such by your peers and in the eyes of the world, this is less important than success writ small; to having done the things and taken the steps that prepare you for the way; from making the bed in the morning, to lacing up your running shoes, from picking up that book and turning the page.

The pursuit of our goals must be steady, like the flow of the river running its course to the sea.

Like the river we must seek the path of least resistance, reach into our lowest places, finding our purpose and filling ourselves up from there.

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