There can be no clear definition of success. Failure is equally hard to define. Everyone has their own unique take on these words success and failure. In general terms, success is something we really do want; failure is when we don’t get what we want.
Often things work out very differently from what we had planned. The reason is clear. Life is unpredictable, and full of surprises. That’s why we can never guarantee success. So much is beyond our control.
The result is a mixture of success and failure. We may not get everything we wanted. But not to worry! As Winston reminds us: success is not final, failure is not fatal.” Life goes on, we mature even more, and new horizons await.
The strange thing about success and failure is that they change as we grow old. It really is quite amazing how much our beliefs, values, goals, dreams and interests, evolve over a lifetime. As they change, so does our idea of success and failure.
I’ve certainly experienced that process. What I wanted at 20, then at 40, and again at 60 years of age were very different. Now that I’m over 80, I find things are still evolving. Success and failure, in terms of material prosperity, have very little to do with what life’s all about.
We all have our own take on the “meaning of life.” However, I think we can all agree that basic human values should figure greatly. Values such as love, service, kindness, compassion, laughter, and song.
As so many “successful” people have discovered, “money can’t buy happiness.” Life should be more about living our values as members of the one human family. That includes:
- how we relate with one another,
- how united we are with our fellow human beings,
- how we try to help one another.
These values bring deep satisfaction, peace and joy. Of course, we all need money; just let’s not make a god of it. On the other hand life is often challenging, as we face life’s ups and downs.
As Winston says, we need courage to continue. Courage to seek and discover our best self, and then define and live success in those terms. I believe that “mid-life crises” are nothing more than a warning: things are about to change. Material values become less important, and authentic spiritual values start to come to the fore.
Winston is right: it takes great courage to continue. It’s not easy to wake up, aged 45, and ask “who am I?” Welcome to the midlife, internal voyage of self-discovery! What we will find out, hopefully, is that “becoming a better person” is not simply an empty slogan. It is the only route to a deep and lasting peace of mind and happiness.
It’s awesome to replace a certain young-age selfishness with a mature love of other people. It’s good to ponder these issues, and come to a new personal understanding of “success” and “failure.”
Why not ask yourself what success, failure and courage to continue mean for you?
P.S. What’s your own experience of success and failure? If you like, please let us know by leaving a comment.