Monday 7 July 2008

Success is a state of mind

What is the game of life all about? And it must be a game considering how so many people are trying to win. What exactly we are all trying to win is still a mystery. Someone sure has painted a picture of a grand prize because this game is taken very seriously. Perhaps it is more than a game. Considering how organised this event appears to be then perhaps it is even a sport. But sports generally have teams and this game seems to be more about every man for himself. So many people are running on this treadmill that I am surprised it has taken this long for people to start saying that the magnitude of this race has reached a point that is beyond belief. Where are we all racing too I ask myself. And why is everyone in such a hurry?

I hope to give some insights into true success today. True success comes from realizing one’s genuine purpose. And if it is really all about money then perhaps a bank guaranteed reality check is needed. Read on.

In these tough economic times one has to remember the fundamentals, because without them true success will never be attained. No one can deny that the business world is going through some major changes yet again. Sentiment is shifting and people are speaking about getting back to basics. Yes, I agree that technology has created new ways of operating. And yes, I agree that people are for more sovereign than ever before. And I definitely agree that one person can make a difference in an age where a Web site can cause an incredible shift. But no, I don’t agree that the fundamentals can change. That is why they are called “fundamentals”. No matter if you are a one-man business or a team of people, the work you do should be about making a difference and not just about making money. A business has a purpose beyond just making money. The visionary companies of the past 50 years all stood for something that represented far more than just the bottom line. And that is what a successful economy is about. As Henry Ford once said "A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business."

A wise man sent me this in an e-mail recently: When people want to free themselves from their humdrum workaday life, they go on vacation. They rent a cabin with half the rooms they have at home and sacrifice many of the conveniences they generally rely upon. They rough it. And then they feel free. When you let go of those material things you have become attached to, then you can start to be free.

I included this text above because it gives us a very compelling insight into what the measurements for success are about. Mother Theresa once said that we can't do great things in this world, only small things filled with great love. And this is what true purpose is about. When you really love doing something then that is when true success will follow. And remember, money is only one way of measuring things. One thing is for sure, that quantitative measurements only stimulate the treadmill. I will be the first to admit that having money provides one with an abundance of choices, but there is only one real choice, and that is whether you want to use your resources to help others.

I found this text on the Web called “What is success?” Let’s take a look: To laugh often; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded.

Perhaps the progress paradox is more about how we measure success than anything else. The renowned psychologist, Erich Fromm, provides some interesting insights into this menacing paradox when he wrote, “All our machines are designed for quickness; the car and aeroplane bring us quickly to our destination – and the quicker the better. The machine which can produce the same quantity in half the time is twice as good as the older and slower one. Of course, there are important economic reasons for this. But, as in so many other aspects, human values have become determined by economic values. What is good for machines must be good for man – so the logic goes. Modern man thinks he loses something – time – when he does not do things quickly; yet he does not know what to do with the time he gains – except kill it.” What really interests me about this text is the reference to speed. The rate at which so much new wealth has been created in the past decade has captured the world’s attention. And then the rate at which so much of it disappeared in the past year is even more intriguing. And this is what treadmills can do to you if you don’t take time out to smell the roses. Slow down. Remember that famous quote that goes, “Even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat.”

Treadmills, by the way, never really get you anywhere. Treadmills don’t even represent a destination - you always get off right where you started. Life is a journey – cherish it.

Let's end off with yet another quotation. One I used quite recently. Let's revisit it here and then end off today's VLOG. It is from Albert Schweitzer who once said "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."

Posted by Ronnie Apteker