Are you successful? How do you measure whether you are or not? What REALLY does being successful mean? Does it mean having a lot of money? Having a GREAT job? Having a great family? Having your kids have a lot of money? What really is success? I went to the ultimate guru of all information Wikipedia and found that “Success MAY mean: a level of social status, achievement of an objective or goal, or simply the opposite of failure.” I went to the etymology of the word and I find it is Latin for “not retreating” or not yielding. I like that definition.
Do you realize how new being successful in life is? Success is a very new concept, not retreating in military terms is as old a war but success in life or in your profession is a VERY new concept, like less than 200 years old. Previous in our history you simply took your place in society, you never even thought about success. If your father was a farmer then you grew up to be a farmer and when you were ready you took your place, married, and had kids that would also grow up to be farmers. If you were a smithy then your father was a smithy and so would your children be. Rarely would be the time where a farmer would venture out to be a smithy. It was an economic thing but also a status thing. If you were a nobleman, your father was one and your son would be. When you were “of age” you would simply take your place in society. No one would worry about whether you were a successful smithy, or a successful farmer because if you weren’t you simply would not eat. Even when the US began factories and mining in the 1800’s you still didn’t think about being successful, you simply provided or didn’t provide for your family.
You could see Americans start to think about doing more gradually over the last 150 years but it was few and far between and really only in America because this truly is the land of opportunity. It would take another few decades for the rest of the world to catch up. Being a success in your life exploded after World War II when a million men came home after staring death in the face and wanted to do more with their life than simply take their place. They wanted something better for their kids then what they had. They DIDN’T want them to simply take their place, they wanted them to go to school, college, and do something great with their lives and not retreat – to succeed!
As with many things, we need to be careful of what we ask for or we will get it. Americans became VERY successful and now we expect success. We used to work for it but now we just expect that it will drop in our laps and we will have a lot of money, a great family, and the respect of all we encounter; all without working for it. As the enemy advances we retreat to our government or church or others to take care of us.
However we define success there are two things I know for sure: that it will NEVER come without hard work and sacrifice AND that it comes when you LEAST expect it.