"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier
Such an interesting word. I don’t know about you, but I personally have a love-hate relationship with that word. What is success anyway? At what point in our life can we consider ourselves successful? I’ve come across a few stories this week about different artists’ perception of success. And do you want to know what I’ve learned? I’ve learned that success is subjective. It is a word opened for interpretation and completely dependent on each individual’s experience.
You see, the thing is, success (as we are used to seeing it through the internet’s biased eye) has more to do with long-term endurance than overnight achievement. Success is not a destination. It’s a journey. Working toward a goal, achieving that goal, and subsequently moving on to another goal is all part of the journey of success. I would like to break this down a little bit more. Let’s see each aspect separately:
Working toward a goal. This one is perhaps the hardest part of the journey. We can’t see too far ahead, nor can we appreciate the progress we are currently making. Many of us feel like giving up and might even at times entertain the concept of failure to describe our circumstances. But this is usually the stage in our journey where long-term endurance is really taking place. The process may take months, years even, but just like anything else that’s worthwhile, it takes time and patience. Remember, it’s not about fast-forwarding through life in order to get somewhere. It’s about living through the learning process.
Achieving the goal. All right, this is the part we usually see through the internet’s eye. We’ve endured to this point and now we’re ready to celebrate. Does this mean our efforts before this point were a failure? Does it mean our journey ends here? Quite the contrary. It is simply another stepping stone, another part of the journey. An ecstatic part? Sure. The one we have been waiting for all along? You bet. But is it the end? Is this it? No. Not even close.
Moving on to another goal. I personally love this part of the journey. This is what builds our stamina. This is the part that really determines success. It is the part that reminds us not only how far we’ve come, but also how much more we have yet to traverse.
Success is the cycle of life. Because life is not about getting somewhere and stopping there, life is about experiencing the process that drives us, and repeating it again and again.
I’m still working on my 2014 YA novel goal (definitely in the first stage of my journey). I’ve got seventy-five pages left to revise and sixteen days to get there. I am currently working on a major chapter restructure. I know, another one. But I am confident this change will give the story a much-needed punch. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Current word count: 110,603
What have your experiences with success been like? Where are you in the journey?