Q: Are you successful? A: Depends.
There are many factors to which the evolution of our psyche can be ascribed to. Most researchers break this down into NATURE and NURTURE. What you’re born with Vs what you pick up along the way, from your environment.
Despite the vast diversity that we come from, NURTURE seems to drive a majority of us to believe in the need to succeed. Applied simply, we want to be seen as being successful in our many realms of life. If you’re not careful, the drive to succeed can take you down a path where (a) your success could be at the cost of someone else’s; the zero-sum conundrum or (b) success remains relative; you’ll never have enough of it
Examples of this are - your position on a hierarchical ladder, the money you make, the lifestyle you can afford, etc.
Let’s, for the moment, turn this argument on its head. To allow one to succeed, others need to be unsuccessful. Or to enable one to succeed, others need to toil without their name on the trophy. You’ll start seeing a variety of examples around you where it plays out in everyday life. There’s only one CEO in an organization. Or there’s only one team that got the “best team” award. Or there can have been only one highest grossing SaaS product last quarter. There’s going to be only one winner of the T2 World Cup 2021. But to believe that success, by such definition, is achievable in the absence of the unsuccessful, suddenly becomes absurd.
If unsuccessfulness is a necessity for success, would you squarely want to always be on the “successful” side of the success line? Importantly, will you always succeed in being on the “successful” side of the success line?
There would be no applauders, enablers, competitors or rainmakers if there were no “unsuccessful” people around. They bring meaning to someone else’s success. Now isn’t that an admirable act in itself? If only we were allowed (or we allowed ourselves) to believe that we only need to be in the game. We won’t always win. And yet it’s worth raising a toast to.
Success, then, lies in the creating, acknowledging or even aspiring to succeed. Not succeeding alone.
Q: Am I successful? A: You bet.