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Success & Failure = Inside Jobs July 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.

Chasing Unicorns posted a thought-provoking “stolen quote” last week.

He lifted it (exercising due care) from  J. K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Address in 2008 when she reminded the graduates (and other attentive attendees) that we must decide for ourselves what constitutes “failure.”

She’s right.

It’s pointless to measure our success and failure using someone’s else’s yardstick.

No one else knows what we value the most.  They only know what they value most . . . since they are looking at the world through their eyes.

Some yardsticks measure power.  Others measure money or acclaim or fame.

For some, success lies in approval from others manifested in the form of awards and trophies, accolades and attention, and “likes” on social media.

They tend not to agree with the “less is more” philosophy.

Still others measure success by education or knowledge . . . or by the adrenaline rush of running the rapids or parachuting from a plane or wrestling an alligator.

My preferred yardstick is inner peace and happiness and contentment.

For years, I’ve measured success by how much I am “enjoying the journey” . . . without worrying about reaching some unseen and imaginary “Finish Line.”

If I am happy and peace-filled right here, right now ~> THAT’S SUCCESS!

Aah . . . that’s better!

On with the dance!  Let joy be unconfined. ~ Lord Byron


1. Rainee - July 11, 2017

Wise words Nancy. I have been thinking along similar lines this week and worrying about what other people think – it is not a helpful place to be. Thanks for the reminder.

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

When I get too focused on what “they” think . . .

I remind myself that I have as many reputations as I have acquaintances and NONE is accurate.

2. Tippy Gnu - July 11, 2017

For me, failure is forgetting to give attribution for a quote. Heh-heh. Thanks for the link, Nancy!

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

I love it when your Stolen Quotes get me thinking about something that needs thinking about . . .

Just realized how close the initials “JKR” are to “EKR.” Spooky!

Tippy Gnu - July 11, 2017

True. And I like to quote both Rowling and Kubler-Ross. Must be something about their initials.

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

I decided to check Gilda Radner’s middle initial . . . to see if you also quoted a “GKR” this week.

But, no. Her middle name was Susan.

That said, I found two pertinent quotes by Gilda to share. Both are about enjoying the journey:

“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

And my new favorite:

“I base most of my fashion taste on what doesn’t itch.”

3. Kate Crimmins - July 11, 2017

Reaching a goal can be anticlimactic. And then again…what’s to do next. (That doesn’t count waiting for tomatoes to ripen. That is a worthy goal.)

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

Waiting for tomatoes = practicing patience . . . when you know it will be worth the wait!

4. L. Marie - July 11, 2017

Wow! Great post, Nancy! I’ve been guilty of measuring myself with the yardsticks of others over the years. I always come up short. Time to throw away the yardsticks!

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

People encourage us to use their yardsticks when they tell us what they would do if they were in our shoes.

But they’re not in our shoes. We are!

5. Patrick Dykie - July 11, 2017

I’ve often looked at success in monetary terms. The idea of measuring it by the “enjoyment of the journey,” is a wonderful view.

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

Thanks, Patrick! As long as we’re here, we might as well dance!

6. Jill Weatherholt - July 11, 2017

I’m with you, Nancy. Setting goals can be a slippery slope for some who don’t feel they’re good enough until that goal is reached. It’s better to enjoy the process…enjoy the journey. Who wants to get to the finish line anyway? What’s really there? If you think happiness will be standing there waiting for you, you’ll be disappointed.

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

An interesting tidbit I’ve seen 2-3 times in the past couple of months ~> people often enjoy the journey/process of PLANNING a vacation more than they enjoy reaching the destination by TAKING the vacation. 😀

Here, now, is where the dance of life takes place.

7. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - July 11, 2017

Love this! Totally spot on – what I consider failure isn’t always, and doesn’t have to be, what the next person considers!

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

Last summer when I started to play Bridge, I played badly . . . very, very badly. But I had great fun playing each hand.

So while others might have viewed my cheery countenance with a sniff of suspicion, wondering what I had to smile about, I knew I was enjoying the journey and having a blast. Success!

Moral: We can SUCCEED even when we SUCK! 😀

8. Ally Bean - July 11, 2017

My measure of success is the same as yours. I let other people do their own things, but deep down inside I wonder “why” are they doing these things? Some of the yardsticks other people use don’t seem like much of anything to me…

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

Me too, Ally! Why do some people think that visiting every pro baseball park is a feat worthy of note? Why do other people think collecting every dust collector known to man defines success?

Why did “practically perfect” Julie Andrews insist that we “Climb Every Mountain” . . . that’s way too many mountains to climb! I’ll climb some of the mountains, some of the time, thank you very much Ms. Poppins!

Ally Bean - July 11, 2017

Laughing here about climbing every mountain. Perhaps you need to focus more of fording every stream. That seems easier to do and it appeals more to me. 😉

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

Why did Maria ford the stream?
To get to the other side.

Ally Bean - July 11, 2017


9. William D'Andrea - July 11, 2017

While few people have bought any of my self published books, many of my writings which are posted on different writers websites, like webook.com, fanstory.com, fanfiction.net, and others, have been read by thousands of other writer’s and received hundreds of very positive feedbacks. I’ve accepted the fact that isn’t getting me any much fame outside those websites, and no money at all; but what it also tells me is that I’m not only good at my work as a writer. With some of my writings, I am outstanding; and that is very satisfying to know. I suppose that could be called “success”.

nrhatch - July 11, 2017

Sure. But we can SUCCEED even if we can’t write our way out of a paper bag . . . as long as we’re enjoying the right write!

10. Behind the Story - July 12, 2017

Our days are filled with achievements, large and small. A tasty meal prepared. The laundry folded and put away. A blog post written. A phone call returned. Twelve years of schooling successfully completed. They’re all successes, activities we’ve cared about enough to do well. And we take pleasure in living and loving and in the big and small things we accomplish. That’s enough.

nrhatch - July 12, 2017

Yes . . . on with the dance! We don’t have to be anxious if we don’t meet “their” definition of success:

11. Joanne Sisco - July 13, 2017

Wise words, Nancy.

Like you, I pondered on this one for while after I read it. I find that my concept of success and failure has been shifting as I age. The things that were important to me 10 years ago are now just memories. Perhaps it’s a sign of approaching maturity 😉

nrhatch - July 13, 2017

Absolutely. When I was in school ~> success was Straight A’s. Then success was graduating from college, graduating from law school, landing my first job, winning my first case, getting salary raises and bonuses, buying a house, etc.

And . . . truth be told . . . I am DELIGHTED that I did all those things back then because they financed my early retirement. 😀

But I am equally delighted that I no longer worry about impressing others with my achievements. If I do something now, it’s because I want to do it (at some level), not because I want to tell others that I did it.

And speaking of “approaching maturity” ~> I’m celebrating another birthday this week . . . even though I don’t feel any more mature than I did last week. :mrgreen:

Joanne Sisco - July 14, 2017

oooo – Haaaapppppy Birrrrrthdaaaaay tooo youuuu … {me singing!}
Celebrate! You survived another tour around the sun 🙂

nrhatch - July 14, 2017

Next time someone asks what I’m doing/accomplishing . . . I’ll tell them that I’m traveling around the sun!

12. diannegray - July 15, 2017

People tend to put too much pressure on themselves if they try to measure their success against what other people view as success. I can’t tell you how many writers I’ve seen in blogs who fall in a screaming heap when their first novel isn’t a best-seller (literally nervous breakdown material). I can say “write for yourself and not what you ‘think’ people will like” until the cows come home 😀 but they just don’t listen. They measure success on sales and likes and great reviews – but life isn’t as straight forward as that. The true success comes in actually writing the novel itself – if people read it that is just the icing on the cake (not the cake itself). My idea of success is trying to learn something new every day and that’s why I enjoy your blog so much xxxx

nrhatch - July 15, 2017

I agree with you 110% . . . enjoy the writing and everything else is a BIG BONUS!

And THANKS! I feel the same ~ learning something new is fun!

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