Okay, I read through all the comments for the “Outliers” giveway and have selected my favorite. This was a tough one and is the main reason why I usually just randomly-select a winner. Anyway, my favorite comment was #28 from Mike, which read:
Well, if itâ€™s ok with everyone (and JLP in particular!) I would like to take a different perspective on success. Most of the comments are discussing success in the context of looking at the past (Bill Gates had this and that at the beginning, moved on to this, etc.) or looking at the present (Bill is a ridiculously wealthy individual).
I view success as a process. Success is not about the past or the present. Itâ€™s about the future. Earl Nightingale said that success is the progressive realization of a goal (paraphrased). I have adopted this as my personal definition of success because I am so far from achieving most of my long-term goals.
I do not come from a background like Bill Gates did. My dad was a fireman for the first half of my life and then a farmer. My mom was either at home or worked part-time. I was the first person in my immediate family to get a four-year college degree. We were financially OK, but far from anyoneâ€™s definition of â€œprivilegedâ€.
My goals stand in stark contrast to this upbringing. I have multiple lifetime goals, but Iâ€™ll just discuss my professional one: I want to be a CIO of a major company.
The problem is that I am not even close to achieving this goal. I am currently 23 years old and donâ€™t work for a major company. If you look at my life, and compare it to my goal, it is safe to say that I am a failure. I have not achieved my goal. But I do not feel that I am a failure because I feel that I am on my way.
I work at the college that I got my B.S. degree from. Itâ€™s not a major corporation, but this job is positioning me well to achieve my goal. Even though I am only 23, I am working in IT, I have had 3 promotions in four years, I am in my second supervisory job and I have a chance to attain a managerial job next year. I am gaining experience that I must have before I can achieve my professional goal of being a CIO. Iâ€™m not there yet, and I have many, many years ahead of me before I can get there, but I am hanging in with this job because it is getting me one step closer to my goal.
So to me, success is still years away, but that doesnâ€™t make me feel unsuccessful now. Because I am progressively realizing my goals, I feel like a success today even though I still have years to go before I achieve them.
Thatâ€™s why I believe that success is more about the progressive realization of a goal than the actual achievement at the end (sorry that it took so long to explain!).
Why is was this comment my favorite? Because Mike is forward-thinking (he has to be as he is only 23-years old!). But, I think he has the right idea. It’s unrealistic for a 23-year old to accomplish a goal of becoming the CIO of a major company. However, if he has that goal in mind he can take the necessary steps to accomplish that goal, which he seems to be focused on.
Bottom line: I think Mike is already a success even though he is a long way from accomplishing his goal.
Congrats Mike. You won yourself a free book!