15 July 2011

Defining Success

Last weekend, I got into a conversation about how to define success.

It was a tricky area to navigate through because the person on the other side of the conversation defined success by money, while I tend to define success in other ways. To make it worse, the person is consistently measuring up their life and deciding it comes up short while my life is measured as decent, maybe even good.

It was a struggle to get them to see that money didn't need to define success. That if they stopped using money as the definition, their life may not be lacking.

I failed.

But I walked away with a great lesson, for my life and my writing.

The writing lesson: Great convictions lead people to actions that they must follow. Because of a world view, every interaction for this person is view against a measuring stick that will make them view life as miserable. Creating a character like this is critical in order to drive the story. It doesn't have to be just misery either. If a different measuring stick than money had been chosen, life might have taken a very different turn.

The life lesson: Some people are stuck in their ways no matter what. It can be easier to walk away than bang your head against a brick wall.

I realize I left out my own definition of success. That's for another day.

1 comment:

Lisa954 said...

I probably agree with you about the definition of success.

My cousin, in my opininon, was very successful. He was a wonderful husband, a great father to 2 children and 3 stepchildren, coached little league, and was active in his church. He always contributed to charity, paid his bills, and was able to save. When he died, it was a large funeral with many who came to say goodbye. He was deeply mourned and is still missed. I would say that he was very successful.

What did he do for a living? He was a garbage man.

I have found that mature people have a very different definition of success than those who measure it by money and possessions.