Why You Aren’t Successful and Why You Will Never Be

Success, it is a word everyone knows but no one have a proper definition on it. Even merriam-webster couldn’t define it properly.

: the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

: the correct or desired result of an attempt


So, what if I achieved wealth, respect, or fame but that wasn’t the thing that I expected? Am I considered successful?

Programmer would say success is when they build their piece of code and they see successfully built output (this may true for Visual Studio user). But gambler would say success is when they win the game and earns more money amongst the player.

Here is a story of a blacksmith and a swordmaster from Avaga folklore.

In a village far from another civilization, there was a blacksmith and a swordmaster. The swordmaster bought sword from the blacksmith and start joining local competition.

The swordmaster wanted to be a successful swordmaster, he believe that he is successful when he able to beat the famous swordmaster who also the village’s chief. Eventually, he managed to beat the village’s chief and he reach his successful dream.

The swordmaster begin to travel to another village far from his homeland. He met another swordmaster who could defeat 10 people in 10 minutes. The swordmaster challenged him and the swordmaster won again.

It continues until the swordmaster died of an old age.

So, what can we learn from the story?

The swordmaster definition of success is limiting him and forcing him to reach it while it is impossible. Why? Because his success is defined when he can beat other people, and there will be always other people who were stronger and better than him. So, hey may once reach a state of success, but that state of success will immediately gone when he saw someone who were better than him.

At the other side, the story did not tell us much about the blacksmith. But do you know the definition of success from the blacksmith? Nothing. The blacksmith did not put a goal on other people, he didn’t wonder about other people swords, nor he compared his new sword with the old one because he know that the old should be rusty and the new is made with newer iron and better tool, they are incomparable. Instead, he’s making sword because he can help people with it.

That’s right, success was never about you and other people and which one is better. Success was about saying enough for ourselves.

I didn’t say you should stop chasing your dream. No, I am saying never put your dream on another people hands. When you compare yourself with other people, you are putting your dreams on his hand, and when he beat you, you are lost.

I didn’t say you should stop doing anything because we would never do better. It is not about getting better, it is about feeling happy. Keep doing your career when it can help other people. A doctor, keep helping people and try to cure them. A programmer, keep helping people with software. A farmer, keep farming to give people food. A supermarket retail owner, keep selling to help people gain access to their needs.

When a doctor begin to compare his work with other doctor’s work, terrible experiments happens. When a programmer is jealous with his colleague’s better work, a hack and crack would occurs on the system. When a farmer envy the other farmer’s big and healthy stocks, using dangerous chemicals will be your daily food. When a supermarket retail owner see his competitor grow bigger, he sell outdated and force his employee to work like a robot.

That’s why, success is about saying enough to ourselves. Enough chasing other people, enough trying to be better than other people.

Here is a piece of words from the first generation of Avaga family leader:

It was never about having food to eat everyday, it was about never feeling hungry everyday.

It was never about having new clothes to wear everyday, it was about feeling new with what we have.

It was never about having large house, it was about never feeling narrow.

The original post was from my LinkedIn post can be found here

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