The real meaning of success

A Note From Dr. Beverly Nelson, Director

Dr. Beverly Nelson (Photo: Michael Amici)We are in an era of truth. People are opening their eyes and, if you have been watching the news recently, you’ll notice that a lot of lies are being exposed: the Lance Armstrong scandal; governments being questioned a lot more, all over the world, and many more examples. This made me think about the perceptions we have about success. How many times what we think is real success is actually something else?

Cultural factors have contributed to this perception: countless books have been written about the secret of success, the “it” factor, the “mysterious component” that sets aside those who will succeed from those who will not. Successful persons end up being perceived as super-human, blessed or just ‘gifted’.

We are geared to crave social success, to gain unanimous approval from those around us. This approval can come from our family, our circle of friends or the town we live in. If we think bigger, it has to come from our whole country, or the whole world…This kind of success is often illusory, and therefore, short-lived. This approval, this popularity, is fun for a while, especially for those in the spotlight. But, it’s an illusion. In the end, what matters most is what kind of mark do we leave in the world.

Why do we crave the illusion of success? Wouldn’t we rather make a positive difference – even if it’s not huge – in someone’s life? That is real success.

People who are socially successful, i.e. famous, are not always making a positive difference in the world. Both factors resemble one another on the surface, which is why it’s so difficult to distinguish one from another, even when it comes to ourselves. In this age of awareness and truth, it’s very important to be honest and transparent, particularly when it comes to our perceptions of others, and of ourselves.

Truth is freedom. It’s also the foundation of real success. Don’t you agree? I’m listening!

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