Thursday, June 18, 2009


How do you measure success? Success is the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose; therefore when the aim or purpose has been attained, one has been successful, but how do people measure success? There’s an external measurement and an internal measurement. The external assessment is done by others, whereas the internal measurement is determined by oneself. Those who do the external test are not aware of the aims or purposes known only to the individual; for example, if I intended to kill people as a suicide bomber because I believed in a certain cause, but instead I accidentally blew myself up, people may think I simply wanted to commit suicide and had been successful. Under those circumstances I had not been successful; unfortunately I was unable to make a judgement of my lack of success, because I was dead!

When my relatives or friends assess what I have done with my life do they see me as being successful? Knowing me well, they would at least be in possession of the major facts to make sound judgements, but what criteria would they use? Would they be looking for my social status, rank or position within the local community, and how would they assess my social status within the strata of that community? Even after rehearsing the facts, their views would be subjective according the value they put on my attainments. A lot would depend upon what they see as being important; if they put wealth and possessions high on the list, they may rate me on the lower scale, but if they were to place more emphasis on happiness and contentment they may rate me quite highly. Their judgements could be wrong, because they may see the external presentation which may not match the internal or hidden truth. In fact, I would judge myself as being contented and happy, whereas others may be fooled by my appearance!

From birth we are all encouraged to adopt a disposition or desire for success. Our parents want us to do well, and in order to achieve the objective of doing well we are rewarded when we achieve success. One of the earliest achievements is crawling. We are encouraged to crawl because our parents want us to be mobile achievers. The next goal is to get us to walk, so our mums and dads help us to achieve success. Along the way, we are given rewards for our successes; maybe kisses, hugs, shouts of approval, and by these rewards we are given the mindset of wanting to achieve success.

As we go on, goals are set with a view to achieving objectives. Sometimes these goals and objectives are determined from outside and sometimes from within. Continuing with the parent/child analogy, parents may want their children to accomplish certain skills that will help them achieve an objective. A parent who wants their boy to obtain a degree will have a long-term strategy of ensuring their child will be well educated at school to attain the best qualifications for gaining entrance to a university. At the achievement of each goal they will encourage their boy by rewarding him. As he scores successive goals his satisfaction increases because of his success - that’s if he is successful - the opposite could be devastating, because instead of being rewarded for success he may only receive disapproval.

What is crucial here, is how ‘we’, each one of us measure success, particularly success with regard to our lives, because lives can only be lived as they are on this earth, unless, of course you believe in a new earth with new life to come as portrayed in the Bible. After all, we are responsible for ourselves, first and foremost. We may be dropouts from society and measure our success by how well we achieve our objectives. We may reject the values of the society in which we live and be gratified that we do not accept or live by them. Morality and ethics could play a large part in our value system, and if so, we will want to measure our lives by how well or badly we have lived according to our consciences. These are internal judgements which may make their mark externally for others to see, so that they may judge our lives as being successful, worthwhile and worthy.

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