The Meaning of Success
In a society driven by materialism, the meaning of success has been constantly distorted. The interpretation (and persuasion) of success has become so polarized that many conclude it to be an abstract relative to individual persons. While it is true that each of our aspirations vary, pop culture and other posturing models typically remain the standards by which we measure our accomplishments.
Take 2009’s “Successful,” a Hip-Hop / R&B ode to the lavish lifestyle, for example. Beneath its allegory of drive and self-determination, success is everything perishable—nothing of true substance or value. Much emphasis is placed on “money, the cars and the clothes,” because according to the song’s performers, “the honeys are asking where the dollars are at.” While many found this song to be inspirational, its premise reinforces the influence of Western culture and the desire to be idolized among peers.
Is this the true meaning of success? According to Merriam-Webster, success is a lot of things. I found it interesting that its first definition was deemed obsolete. Perhaps an “outcome” or “result” is too simple a feat for our glitzy Western culture.
The Lost Meaning of Success…
Merriam-Webster goes on to define success as a “degree or measure of succeeding.” Its next definition, which happens to be my personal favorite, is a favorable or desired outcome. How inspiring is that! Whether you’re driven to lose weight, climb the corporate ladder, or raise your children to be the best they can be, success is the preferred outcome of the goals you set! It has NOTHING to do with the clothes you wear, the car(s) you drive, how much money you make, or the admiration of your peers. True success is intimate and often celebrated personally with your closest friends.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with the spoils of success, and it would be misleading if I left out the remainder of the definition, which reads also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence (we will explore these words in future posts). But I can’t help to wonder why this description is last, denoted with the word “also,” and mentions the “attainment” of these things. In other words, succeeding is much greater than the spoils that come along with it. Which is more important: Having raised a child to be an asset to society, or the assets the child obtains through education and proper upbringing? If a child is born into wealth, does he inherit success, also?
Discovering your own meaning of success
Success, in its truest form, is setting and reaching a desired goal. More emphasis should be placed on this. More praise is owed to those parents who raise their children, and to those children who excel physically and academically. Honor is due to those individuals who beat the odds stacked against them. And we salute those people who not only survive, but strive for perfection—day-by-day, and little-by-little.
These are the true meaning of success.
This is your Monday Unleaded for the week of January 28, 2013. Have a productive week!
Successful – Drake