Now there's a loaded statement. People share many of the same wants. Love, money, a secure job, children, peace, health and happiness. The list goes on and on. That's not much to ask for right? Keep this in mind. With all these choices and more, the number one thing that most people want is success. As a society, people believe they are judged by others based on their degree of success. In high school, you won't date a lot if you aren't popular, if you don't have a wealth of friends, or hang with the "IN" crowd. God help you if your in the chess club, or your the AV guy that shows the movies and delivers the equipment around the school. "NERD". BUT! "What you see, is NOT always what you get, or how it appears." The key word here is "PERCEPTION.". Allow me to let you in on a little secret. One that proves "PERCEPTION" isn't always "REALITY." I played sports, a bit of a jock you might say. I lettered in two sports in high school. I was in a high school fraternity, and one in college as well. I had lots of friends to hang with. However, I was also the AV GUY. NERD, no, SMART, yes. Being the AV guy got me out of study periods and I enjoyed the freedom to roam around the school watching everyone else sitting in classes or study periods. So where's the perception now? I had a souped up, jacked up, Chevy Super Sport with a .283 cubic inch engine. A fancy paint job and chrome wheels. God that motor rocked. You couldn't kill it, and God knows I tried.
We drank Colt 45 or Boone's farm on a Friday and Saturday night with the guys. No drugs, not my style. I skipped classes, got caught, received more detentions than I care to think about, but luckily my coach's got me out of most of them to attend practice. Yep, the real hot shit so everyone thought. Part of the "IN" crowd for jocks. Dating cheerleaders and the popular girls. You know the drill. The true example of a person who would be most likely to flunk out of high school, or have to repeat a year. Isn't that what being a part of that crowd means? It's all about fun, not school. I NEVER DID. I graduated with a 3.8 average, went to college and majored in music education and minored in Psychology. I really should have switched majors because I adore Psychology. Had a blast! See my point? NERD? Nope. SMART? YES. This blog sound familiar, because it's not just about me. It's about all of us. I simply used myself as an example to make my point of how people will perceive you. You might say I had a very successful high school experience. The best of two worlds.
It's now 2018. The days of people being judged by the cars they drive are done. Thank God, because that was the stupidest gauge of success I've ever seen, especially now. You don't need to make much money or have the best credit to drive a BMW. I know many that drive expensive cars and don't have a pot to piss in, or a window to throw it out of. You know the type. They walk around with their life savings in their right pocket and think their shit doesn't stink. We Italians call them "CAVONE'S". Anyone who can make a car payment can own a nice car. Why, because the bank owns much of everything everyone has anyway. Any good financial guy will tell you. Let the bank own it, let them take the risk, keep your money if you can make the payments, if not, got file bankruptcy. What the heck, you enjoyed the ride. Does that sound like success to you? There are different degrees of success. Individual success, where a person completes a specific task or personal goal, and being successful at your job, relationships, and more. However, what I'm referring to in this blog is total life success.
First, and make no mistake about this, your success in life is ONLY determined by how YOU gauge it. Not how others do. If you have achieved your goals, you have achieved what to you is your life success, it requires no further validation. Why is it that society requires validation by others? People they don't even know. Are we to believe everything we read, see or hear? We watch talk shows where people are screaming at each other, political debates where the candidates are at each others throat. THEATRICS PEOPLE. IT'S A SHOW. If they were all warm and fuzzy, who the hell would watch them? PERCEPTION. Are we that narrow minded? So we call them successful, than hear on the news they were arrested for abuse, drugs, DUI, and a plethora of other things. So I ask you now. Are they successful? Yet, we accept it, and keep them high in praise. The why in this answer is simple. It's the human condition. Not only is it an innate behavior, it's also a learned behavior. What we are taught by what we are told, experiences, as well as what we see others do and how they use this as a gauge for success. Those two methods, innate and learned, unless taught differently, are the only one's we know. However, they couldn't be any farther from reality as to the metrics that are used gauge to gauge a person's success.
Let me give you an example. As an Author and Writer, of course I would like to be successful. Sell many books. How is that gauged? For most, it's the number of books they sell, or did they make a best seller list? Physiologically it gives one the perception they are liked and popular, therefore successful. For you, it may be other measures of success depending on what you do and where you set your goals..To a degree, my success will be gauged by these metrics. However, does that really make me successful, or was it good marketing, the type of books I write, or how I engage with my readers? Surely a combination of them all. However, this is where the line, your line, in the sand is drawn as how it applies to you. The truth is, and what should be paramount to you is when you ask yourself this question. "DO I FEEL SUCCESSFUL?" Where have I set my bar? What are my metrics? That's what you need to determine for yourself. When you get in bed at night, it's just you, (and of course a partner if you have one). But I don't care how many people you are in bed with. It's only one mind. Your mind. The point is, it's just you as a person. Where do you set your bar and did you reach it? Whether I sell one book or thousands, will that be metric I will use to gauge my success, or is my success measured by me? Do I need additional validation? The answer should always be the same. NO! No one should need additional validation as a metric to gauge their success. Validation will come when it's earned. If anyone answered yes, trust me, it's time for you to re-evaluate your priorities and self esteem. Keep this in mind.
"You can please some of the people some of the time, but NEVER all of the people, all of the time.
With all this said, why would I, or anyone, want to use that as a metric to gauge our success? Leave that for politicians. A game of honor that has now turned to disgrace. Their success is not gauged by their accomplishments as much as it is gauged by the dirt they throw at one another. In closing, allow me a moment to quote Michael Jordan. "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Let your success be gauged by how you see yourself. Not how others see you. If not, all you will do is spend your entire life trying to live up to the expectations of others. Others that may have no expectations of themselves. A bit lengthy, but I liked it. The End. -- CJR