SUCCESSFUL LIFE, Does money really mean success?
‘Success and successful life,’ these are terms we all want to be associated with. A lot of writers have written books on how to be successful or rather how to live a successful life. But how effective are these motivational books?
What is success? How do we define it? Can we quantify success? According to the Merriam Webster, success is the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect or fame. Dictionary.com defines success as the attainment of wealth, position and honors.
One thing these two definitions have in common about success is material riches. They both define success as achieving or attaining wealth and position. But the question we really have to ask is, ‘does success really mean financial wealth or riches?’
But then are all financially wealthy people successful? Do we consider all rich people to be successes? The word success is derived from the Latin word ‘succedere’ meaning “going beneath”. So then, how do we reconcile ‘going beneath’ with ‘achieving wealth.’
We could classify success on three different levels – individual, family and meritorious success. Individual success refers to achieving personal set goals.
Consider the situation with Franklin. Franklin is a young Nigerian who had to toil so as to get the funds to enable him complete his university education. At the end Franklin ‘succeeds’ in bagging a university degree.
Franklin gets a job at the ministry of agriculture and is able to train his other siblings as well as relatives to complete university degree. These set of family members are able to stand on their own and are said to be successful through their elder brother. This is family success.
The problem of irrigation in northern Nigeria has plagued the country for a while, defying all solutions. Franklin with his university knowledge steps in, begins a water aid project, collaborates with communities, non-governmental organization and crafts a lasting strategy to the northern water crisis. A selfless and meritorious success award is assured to frank.
Looking at the life of Franklin, do we say he is successful?
But among all the definition of success, one definition stands out, ‘helping others to overcome.’Going back to the Latin definition of success, it is my opinion that success is not necessarily defined by wealth or position but by going beneath and helping those below to rise. Only on such occasion would one say I am successful.
In helping those in need, we are helping ourselves, making the world a better place, one person at a time.
This is why the legacy of men and women like Martin Luther King, standing up for the rights of the downtrodden in United States in the 1960s, and Mother Theresa, who reached the poorest of the poor in India for decades, will forever represent what true success actually means.