Does that mean anything? About as much as any measurement of anything, it doesn’t mean much unless we are in the thick of something.
Bill Gates said, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
Dissecting success amuses me. Or rather, that most people, organizations and societies don’t sit down and figure out what made things work, what made things better – and use that wisdom to perpetuate success.
The formula most people and individuals use is – whatever we are doing we should keep doing and we’ll keep being successful – as if understanding what is contributing to that success.
Meanwhile, most of us sit in the other pool – the group that aren’t successful by our own measuring tools, stuck in “what did I do wrong, or what did I fail to do?” thinking rather than “what am I doing right … and do more of it” thinking.
We analyze our failures to death, strategize our problem solving and re-organize ourselves in pursuit of error-free execution of everything we do. Details, processes, spreadsheets, algorithms, apps-for-that think.
So often when we hear highly successful people describe their journey – it seems like such a simple collision of re-direction, accident and response to opportunities. I don’t just mean Jobs, Gates, the Beatles or Salinger, or Disney or Roentgen – but lower magnitude successes I suppose. The kind where a chance meeting turns into an incredible empire. Or the B side of the record became the hit.
What breaks out, breaks apart from the norm?
If there was as much attention paid to really understanding the elements of things we do which are successful – as opposed to post-mortems on every adventure that died a natural death, I think we would be further ahead in our lives, our businesses and our pursuit of happiness.
Who has the secret? Napoleon Hill? Steven Covey? Oprah? Warren Buffett?
When to go hard, when to quit, when to change lanes, when to change directions?
Or is it simply a matter of aging, experience, reflection and analysis?
It would be easy I suppose, to burnish Winston Churchill’s words into our brains: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
On my plate this week are, as always, far too many things I’ve accumulated to do, so setting priorities and postponing are required, but I struggle to finish more things so I can start more things and still manage all the things I want to do.
Some days, just juggling better would feel like such enormous progress.
And some days – more of those lately – have me feeling the heap is more manageable, my focus is better and self-imposed pressure has slackened.
Chief among my current attention getters are:
1. 4 tasks for clients with urgency/opportunity involved
2. 3 tasks for clients with less urgency/opportunity involved
3. my daily list of ‘30 tasks’ to keep my business and life running smoothly
4. 10 tasks I’ve planned to make new things happen and make some work better
5. 1 new idea I’ve started to develop into an adventure
6. 1 new venture
7. 1 new thought
8. a ‘novel’ beginning
9. 2 fresh pictures of my grandchildren on my iPhone
10. 2 volunteer writing tasks
Where should I point my attention today? (not to worry, DR, RH, IS and JA … my focus is primarily on those first 4 needs - yours!)
Where should my energy be most focused?
Where should yours be concentrated?
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -21C (wind chill -33C) / -6F, forecast to be out of the deepfreeze by Wednesday, steady wind from the west where the sky seems to be clearing (perhaps a Chinook in the making?) as we did a sprint up hill and down again, Gusta’s pace only slowed by the bus stop where there are always interesting smells in the snow banks from jettisoned food cartons and things that fall out of lunches on the way to school …