I have been mulling over this question for some time now. Much value is placed on being successful. I have mentally played out different arguments, followed a number of lines of thought and have arrived at some observations.
Success is measured differently by different people. It acquires different meanings in different scenarios, different circumstances and different contexts. One applies certain parameters, and then makes some allowances or some disallowances and proceeds to measure the success of a human being or an endeavour. The result varies as per the parameters. Success is also relative to a stated or implied goal, if one has been predefined.
Success of two human beings or endeavours, in my opinion, is not one hundred percent comparable, even if the measurement parameters and the allowances and disallowances are identical, since circumstances are never identical.
I had once read a verse about success and it had appealed to me a lot. Unfortunately I do not know the source. I quote it here -
“Success to me means...
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest crtics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a better place, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier beacuse you lived.
This is to have succeeded !”
As I grew older, I came to realise that some of the parameters are relative and / or subjective, and somehow that diminished its value for me. I won't say I am disillusioned, but I'm surely not viewing things in the romantic and idealistic manner mentioned in this verse. The ones that I still find worth are all related to the self...either arising out of one's own actions or one's own responses to situations.
I now understand that success is largely dependent on one's own perception of it.
Also, as I went from one phase of life to another, the meaning of success changed for me. I think it must be the same for others as well.
Today, success to me means having the freedom to do anything at all with my time without fear of it affecting my subsistence adversely. In that sense, then, nobody is successful in absolute terms. One is largely or somewhat or marginally or not at all successful.
Success means having an abundance of renewable resources.
What is your definition of success ?