I realize that success gives an internal image of the high flying, wealthy, famous and great looking person in western society, but this image in and of itself is external to the person having it. Is this the image of what you deem as success or what society around you tells you is success? Is this image an end in itself or merely a means to an end?
I have a range of books on my brimming shelves that deal with this “7 Habits of highly effective people”, “How to win friends and influence people”, “Covert persuasion”, “48 laws of power”, “The Prince” and while they all aspire to the same thing, they all fall woefully short of their goal, of giving you a system, a raison d’etre, they all fall in the category of means, not ends. Their applicability is far from universal, unless you plan to rule your household by fear, continuously stay aware of your own body language and the body language of others, or wish to take part in the cult of the “Networker”.
Wouldn’t the very idea of success be derived from a goal or set of goals, and level of success the sum of key performance indicators of movement towards accomplishment/fulfillment of those goals?
I’ve always been obsessed with knowledge, and thus have had a range of obsessions within different fields. I call them obsessions because I develop a single-minded focus towards that field for the time period it takes me to grasp the central ideas of it. I don’t claim to know the intricacies or central contributors to French 18th century philosophy, but I don’t need to. I need to know the central practices and thinkers within the whole field so I can build on it.
Knowledge synergies is how I value success. This was not a concept that I was aware of 5 years ago but something that has started to come to me over time. Imagine a cluster of islands with no form of communications between them. Each island is it’s own micro-cosmos. In come cases, there is a form of evolutionary convergence of ideas, such as most cultures coming to the understanding that permitting theft, murder and rape being the undoing of any society. However, there are also divergences in each island about when murder, theft and rape are permissible.
As bridges and boat traffic slowly increases between the islands the ideas of each island form a sum greater than the whole, not only from the variety of ideas, but also from being able to apply ideas across contexts and situations. This is the core idea behind a knowledge synergy.
How do you value success?