How do you define success?

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by S.J. Faerlind, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    We haven't had a new debate topic in at least a few days so I thought I'd see how this one went over...
    The topic is: how do you define success and do you apply the same standard to everything? For example: do you measure success by financial gain, or by a positive outcome or by reaching a goal?
     
  2. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    I consider success to be fleeting, never complete or without a high cost in unintended consequences. I think we often succeed at something at the expense of something else. I've also seen how important plain old dumb luck plays in a life... take a right turn here and all goes well, take a left and it's disaster. For myself, this topic dovetails into our debate over *personal responsibility* and where it begins and ends for an individual. I accept total responsibility, even if a piano falls on me. ;)

    I'll put myself on the chopping block... I live in a nice home, drive a Corvette, have money in the bank and a retirement account... am I successful?.. but my personal life, those relationships that matter, is in shambles right now. I have succeeded in one area of my life at the cost of another. On balance, I would say that I've failed. I will however get up this morning and take on the new day as if things might be better in the future. Perhaps success is measured when you just keep yourself moving during those times you'd much rather just stop.

    Also, I come from the bluest of blue collar backgrounds, sometimes success is measured at ground level.
     
  3. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    For me it's reaching a goal or a positive outcome. Mostly getting where I wanted to be. I can't deny that in the word of success there are things as status involved. I wouldnt feel as successful if my goal was getting a job at e.g. mcdonalds, than if I actually managed to become a doctor. At the second example i would feel more successful. Since in societies eyes, it is more successful. And sometimes its hard to look past and ignore what society thinks. I also tend to measure my success in comparison to others success or non success. unfortunately. *sighs*
     
  4. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    I think the other thing to consider is where is someone starting from, what kind of situation did they grow up in... good parents, good schooling, strong friendships, etc... for some people perhaps a lower level job without much responsibility is still something of a success. I think we each leave childhood with advantages and disadvantages for dealing with real life.

    Also, I'll add that life is way way way way way harder than what we're led to believe growing up. For the longest of times I was carefree about life, it wasn't precious to me and I hurt people in the process. I now think success is more about helping others to be successful too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  5. Emelie

    Emelie Queen of darkness

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    I totally agree there sparrow, its also about where a person starts in life, that's very true! And I believe that life is what we make of it. Life isnt easy, but at the same time.. it sort of is.
    I consider my life easy. Although in other people eyes, they ask how I manage to stay happy and how ive gotten so far in life when everything has been against me.
     
  6. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I have given up believing in something as one-dimensional as success, but let me say this.

    If you are not, under normal circumstances, able to hold your own in modern society, I'd say you have failed. Following from that, anything other must be success. The rest is interpretation.
     
  7. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    lol

    I think that was really profound Sparrow and I totally agree. There have been times in my life when all other considerations besides getting through the day were completely irrelevant to me. I was just happy to get through it and to heck with the rest of it. Looking back on those days I still count them as a success.

    I think it was especially difficult in my youth to ignore society's expectations and definitions of success. I jumped into those definitions with both feet, got myself educated and started a professional career, secured myself a decent living etc etc. The older I get, the more ridiculous I find those definitions to be and the easier I find it is to reject them. Sure, a person needs to be responsible for themselves personally and financially, but there comes a point where it goes beyond that into sacrificing everything else in life to excel at society's definition of success. No thanks! The only problem that I'm finding with that is there are some people in my life who don't seem to be able to accept that money and career status isn't everything. They believe strongly in society's definitions of success and can't seem to understand why I seem not to care about those definitions anymore. That causes friction between us and that's unfortunate.

    I think this is a great point too. I agree that success is relative. What irritates me about society is that it seems to judge everyone's worth by its own arbitrary standard. I think everyone's worth should be equal by default.
     
  8. BubbleFreak

    BubbleFreak Queen of BubbleMania

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    To me, success is being able to live in the present, and be content. To be able to take in everything around me, everything within me, and appreciate its worth. For example, I appreciate being able to play with my baby and watch him giggle when I blow raspberries on his tummy.

    Not to say I don't think about the future. Do I want my baby to stay a baby forever? No! I do want him to grow up and become his own man one day, but for now I appreciate what point he is at in life and I just try to be a good mum for him now.

    Does this mean I forget about the past? No. The past makes up what I am in the present. The good, the bad, the ugly as they say. I don't need to be proud of everything I've done in the past. People make mistakes. But success to me is owning anything bad I have done, being proud of all the good I have done, and being able to accept it as all a part of my life and history.

    So, with my above definition of success, means that money is not a top priority for me but it is still a necessity in order for me to be able to appreciate living in the present. Like Maslow's Heirarchy of needs, if I was struggling to just survive I would feel cheated if I had to put him in childcare and missed out on watching him take his first steps. So, money is needed but how much of it I have is not the way I measure my success.

    A way I measure success is how much I am able to live in the present. I go by the motto that no matter what I am doing, (whether it's cleaning toilets or training colleagues overseas for a multinational corporation or simply listening to someone as they speak to me or just relaxing) as long as I know I am doing the best I can at that moment, then I am successful. It doesn't matter how insignificant the task may seem to others.
     
  9. Taliesyn

    Taliesyn It's a feral reality out there, kids.

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    This.

    I don't know what success looks like. It's certainly unlike anything society defines as success. How much financial gain is enough? How many promotions does it take to feel better about oneself? Even if one is vindicated in the eyes of one's peers, is one still vindicated when there's no one around to witness?

    Having stacks of money ain't all it's cracked up to be. Fame is that temperamental harlot who'll be sure to let you down when you need her most. And time demolishes the pedestals of most accomplishments. Nothing's static. Everything changes. We're here today and gone tomorrow. Why worry about success? Surely it's enough to just live, to breathe and do, and take whatever joy we can in that.
     
  10. Kelmourne

    Kelmourne The Savage Hippy

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    I'd define success as achieving a goal, it's the best explanation that makes America the loser in The War of 1812 :D
     
  11. Dreamscaper

    Dreamscaper Royal Hamster Wrangler

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    It was a tie! lol >.<

    Success is what happens when you accomplish a goal, I agree, but I would think that if you shoot high enough you can still be successful if you don't. I have a friend who aims to become a CEO, but if he ends up the VP I don't think he will have failed, necessarily.
     
  12. JNK

    JNK King of tards

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    A man was walking along the street when he saw a ladder going into the clouds. As any of us would do, he climbed the ladder.
    He reached a cloud, upon which was sitting a rather plump and very ugly woman.

    "Screw me or climb the ladder to success," she said.

    No contest, thought the man, so he climbed the ladder to the next cloud. On this cloud was a slightly thinner woman, who was slightly easier on the eye.

    "Screw me hard or climb the ladder to success," she said.

    "Well," thought the man, "might as well carry on."

    On the next cloud was an even more attractive lady who, this time, was quite attractive.

    "Screw me now or climb the ladder to success," she fluttered.

    As he turned her down and went on up the ladder, the man thought to himself that this was getting better the further he went. On the next cloud was an absolute beauty. Slim, attractive, the lot.

    "**** me or climb the ladder to success," she flirted.

    Unable to imagine what could be waiting, and being a gambling man, he decided to climb again. When he reached the next cloud, there was a 400-pound ugly man, armpit hair showing, flies buzzing around his head.

    "Who are you?" the man asked.

    "Hello," said the ugly fat man said, "my name is Cess!"
     
  13. Kelmourne

    Kelmourne The Savage Hippy

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    Lol America wanted to invade and conquer Canada and they didn't. England wanted to beat the U.S. into submission and didn't really expect to conquer it, and they "succeeded" at achieving this goal.

    Failed at becoming a CEO, succeeded at life.
     
  14. Dreamscaper

    Dreamscaper Royal Hamster Wrangler

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    Not really! We just wanted to try some Canadian bacon, I swear!

    For me at the moment success has been redefined as being able to survive being my own boss, decent income, and accomplishing half of the goals that have been set forth (though I guess it wouldn't be complete success, but I'll count it as such)
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  15. Kelmourne

    Kelmourne The Savage Hippy

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    Too cheap to just buy some? :p
     
  16. Dreamscaper

    Dreamscaper Royal Hamster Wrangler

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    They invited us over for dinner! We just got a little rowdy and they thought we were invading! They just misinterpreted us, they are really too polite to have some roughnecks like us over after all.
     
  17. S.J. Faerlind

    S.J. Faerlind Flashlight Shadowhunter

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    ^^roughnecks meet rednecks... never a good combination! :D
     
  18. Wanted Hero

    Wanted Hero YA Fantasy Author

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    How can you have a 'debate' about someone's personal definition? Discussion I can see, but debate? lol
     
  19. Eustace

    Eustace The One True Tsar

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    There's a point... myself, well, the kind of success I believe in is difficult to measure - I take the long view. If people can think of you after you've gone and have some nice things to say, then I reckon you did OK. All the money and power in the world isn't going to matter when you're too dead to do anything about it. Get statues built to you and you did even better, but to be honest not many people manage that these days! I like the story of the Nobel prize to sum this up - Alfred Nobel, loaded and powerful, wakes up one morning to find out that the papers have reported he's dead - and everyone is pleased. Time to invent some sort of prize to make yourself popular again perhaps...?

    But then, I've always played the long game...