Success Isn’t Everything

Success Isn’t Everything

Success Isn’t Everything.  It’s not worth much if you don’t enjoy the trip.

by – Dave Cottrell

Success isn’t everything, and in fact, it only happens for a mere moment in time; then it’s gone, forever. If it’s the only thing you live for, your life is not going to be all it can be.

If you go to any sales training seminar, you’ll hear over and over again that you have to set goals, that you have to have a success-driven attitude.

You hear that success is everything. You need to concentrate completely on reaching your goal. Nothing can be allowed to get in the way: Not family. Not friends. Not sleep. Not recreation. Not health….

What a foolish way to live! If you give up all these to reach your goal, in other words, to win, you won’t have much when you get there!  Success isn't everything

I was graphically reminded of this recently. I have had Lyme disease since 2007, which has taken away most of my immune system. What this means is that whereas I rarely got sick prior to the end of 2007, I now get everything that’s going around and I often get it worse than most.

My dear mother reminded me that my goal, as a “Lymie,” is to get well. She suggested that I really needed to stay focused on that, and that I should stop seeing my grandchildren for a while, so that I could get well, because, well, you know… kids are always spreading germs.

I replied to my mom that I would not stop seeing my grandchildren, but that I would see them all I could, because if there’s one thing Lyme disease REALLY has brought home to me, it’s how precious the moment is. You have to enjoy life as you go, because you never know how much you have. Lyme patients who get well often die from the damage, especially to the heart, never even knowing the damage is there.

Having a goal, something to win, is good for setting direction, but that moment of success when you reach your goal is a moment in time, a point on the road of your life. It is one-dimensional.

In other words, it has no measurable substance. Reaching your goal exists for a split second, and then it is gone forever. It’s over. If you base your happiness in life only on reaching your goal, you won’t have a very happy life.  You’ll be like the dad on a family vacation who drove by all the gorgeous scenery as fast as he safely could, in spite of his family asking him to stop for pictures, so they could get to their goal, a campsite in the mountains.  Then, when they got there, the rain started pouring down, and it never stopped raining for the entire holiday.

The other day, I was taking a break out in the garden, digging my bare toes into the warm dirt, picking thai berries and enjoying a beautiful, balmy day, while listening the birds sitting in and flying around all the trees I’ve planted in our yard over the years.

In every case, when I planted those trees, most of which I grew from seed, I had a goal of growing a tree of one kind or another, but my joy over the years was not in having a grown tree, but in nurturing and caring for them as they grew. That’s one of the beauties of trees. Unless you’re growing them for the sole purpose of cutting down one day, there IS no real set goal with trees. You simply enjoy them day by day at every stage.

I could have been sitting here at my desk, working away on an article or submitting ads, or wading through my email, or getting another set of photos ready, but I was standing in the sun enjoying the little things in life, like the songs of the birds and the warmth, and the feel of the warm, slightly damp earth between my bare toes. It was wonderful.

Life is full of opportunities to relax and enjoy little things. However, our industry teaches us to block out the little things so that we can concentrate on reaching our goals – on achieving success.  A major problem with that is that those “little things” are often those we love, including our children.

What this means is that we’re spending all our time on these “big things,” so that we can enjoy a very brief, infinitely fleeting moment: the tiny flash in space and time when we reach our goal.  Too late we risk realizing how empty success is without anyone to share it with!

Winning is what happens when you reach the end of the game. It’s what happens when the ribbon breaks at the finish line. It’s the moment the horn blows and the stands start to empty. Everything is over.  

Picture yourself standing there, having just kicked the winning goal in the world cup!  How exciting! The fans are roaring, your team mates are cheering you, you’re a hero!  All your hard work, your steely determination and focus to reach your goal has paid off!

Now imagine standing in the same spot a week later… The one who is still happy a week later is the one who is back kicking the ball, because she loves kicking the ball!  More than that, the one who really enjoys kicking the ball often is the one with the most success.  Enjoying what you do makes you better at what you do and more likely to achieve success than simply having a laser targeted desire to succeed.

Don’t get me wrong! I like reaching my goals as much as the next guy, and likely more than some. I like that all too brief feeling of elation when I’ve reached my goal, when I’ve won the game. But it’s the GAME I really enjoy.

I play the game with winning in mind, but I also play the game for the FUN of it. For that reason, the people I “play” with, including many I’m in competition with, have become my friends, and they’re there for me, even when things aren’t going so well.  

Success isn’t only about achieving financial success, but it’s about achieving life success.  When we realize that, we realize that happiness and contentment are way more important than having the money to buy whatever we want.  When we set a goal, key our eye on it, but remember to enjoy the game as we keep our focus, we make more friends, enjoy life more, and get more satisfaction with smaller goals.  Remember that the game of football can be one on field goals.

Most of my time involves playing the game, not winning it. That comes at the end. I’m going to enjoy playing the game. I’m going to enjoy everything that comes along with the game: My family. My friends. My sleep. My recreation. My health, such as it is. The little moments spent with my wife and grandchildren. The warm, moist dirt between my toes…

Most of my time involves playing the game, not winning it. That comes at the end. I’m going to enjoy playing the game. I’m going to enjoy everything that comes along with the game: My family. My friends. My sleep. My recreation. My health, such as it is. The little moments spent with my wife and grandchildren. The warm, moist dirt between my toes…

The other day, I took a break with the birds and my thoughts and my little garden. I relaxed in the sun. I was amazed by how fast all the little trees and shrubs I’ve planted have grown and how many birds they hold! I was thankful that I can still feel the warm dirt with my bare feet.

Finally, during that very enjoyable break, a new ideas began to take shape in my mind… and I wasn’t even working!

I could have spent that time working away in my office, but then I probably wouldn’t have written this short piece.

Instead, I probaby would have written the kind of thing we online marketers read every day, about setting goals, and SEO and using keywords, and PPC

Life is too short and friends are too few to spend every last bit of it on that single point on the time line of life called, “winning.” Cherish every moment you have. Pay attention to your family and friends. Take your shoes off and get your feet dirty. Go for a walk. Lie in the sun. Sleep!!!

To play the game properly, you need to have a goal in mind, but to play the game better and really enjoy live, remember that the real enjoyment comes from playing the game. That is how MOST of your life is spent.

Achieving your goal is great, but you can’t hold onto that moment when you finally reach your goal. If you want to really enjoy your life, you need to enjoy the time in between setting a goal and reaching it. You’ll have a far better life and you’ll be far more likely to reach your goals. You will be healthier, happier, and a real winner. 

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  • So happy to read some sanity in the Obsessive Market place.
    Success is ONLY truly defined by the person seeking the Success.
    Not external influences.
    Also, I believe those goals, so many “talk about”, should be realistic (with a little stretch).
    Happiness is more easily generated form the success of several “small” mountains being scaled rather than the sense of frustration NOT attaining that HUGE goal.
    Most truly successful people accomplish something every day, doing What they love to do.
    I am not advocating “not reaching for the stars” but in sailing days I had a destination but need to Tack upwind in small increments to get there
    Chuck Bartok recently posted…Is your Blog/Website Elegantly Presented?My Profile


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