When Status Trumps Success

status-money-looks-success_DSC9851It always baffles me when people are more concerned with acquiring status that than they are with achieving success.  In today’s world of instant gratification and entitlement, it’s no surprise that America pays attention to (if not idolizes) individuals, not for their success, but instead for their status.

If your aim is notoriety, call up Paris Hilton or a Kardashian sister and start hanging out with them. They have a pretty good grasp on being recognized for achieving… well, nothing. Maybe try out for a reality TV show, or try to beat Tila Tequila as the “most friended” person on MySpace (does anyone use that site anymore?  An outdated reference, for sure, but you get the picture).  Why not be Bruce Jenner’s son, Brody?  What exactly is it that he does?  Or maybe be a Kevin Federline and knock up Britney Spears?  Or how about just two words… Jersey Shore?  Two more… Real Housewives?

Yet, if your true aim is to be successful, and not just someone with status that ranks alongside the list above, might I suggest you choose a passion, choose a craft, choose an endeavor, choose a career…. and pursue it… perfect it.

You have to ask yourself, is it the destination, or the adventure along the way that gets you out of bed in the morning?

Side note: Wasn’t it Linda Evangelista who once famously said, “We (super models) don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day”???  I don’t view her as successful, by the way.  Professionally good looking (if that’s a thing), sure.  But successful in the pursuit of something… no.  Being born good looking is the equivalent of being born a Hilton sister and inheriting a ton of money.  You didn’t earn anything you have, and the status that has arisen from what you have been given is not the result of any real or hard work you have done.

That must be terribly unrewarding?  Sure, you are never left in want of anything, but then again, you never have the satisfaction of feeling what it is like to work for something, to refine it, to perfect it, to earn it… to achieve… to succeed.

And how you must also be lacking in identity when you are tied to a status instead of a success.  I mean, who is Paris Hilton without money?  Just another skinny blonde.  And Brody?  Just some So Cal dude who was gifted the unfortunate bro name of Brody.

But, before I go too far off on a tangent, I digress.  I want to get back on message.  This is about being successful.  About achieving and earning success.  This is about doing instead of being given.

I think David Frost can help me sum this all up nicely.

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” – David Frost

Thank you Mr. Frost, for being the only name mentioned in this post who actually did anything to grant himself the status he deserves… that of a successful man.

The Willingness to Risk is the Reward

risk-and-rewardNot everyone will share a common vision or belief in your life goals.

And, as it turns out, that is perfectly fine.

Certain individuals you come across in your lifetime (traditionally the small of mind and spirit… those who find themselves to be the slaves to both doubt and fear of failure) will be most vocal about their doubts in your ability for success. Further, some individuals, for whatever reason (and usually a reason you will never know), will even take pleasure in your failures.

And, again, as it turns out, that is perfectly fine.

Everyone is entitled to opinion. And that is where it starts and stops. The opinions of those who doubt your goals and abilities are not prophecies. If anything, the negative opinions a person has of you are simply an indication of the esteem with which you should be holding that person.

In my time, I have found that an undying belief in yourself and an unwavering commitment to your goals, regardless of the opinions of others, is a necessary component to success.

Not everyone is cut out to take risks. Not everyone is equipped to deal with failure. That’s on them. Not you.

I am not risk averse. In fact, I thrive on the uncertainty of outcome in my pursuits. I have failed more times than I can count… but by continually putting myself into arenas with hard edges (those with wins and loses, successes and failures, blacks and whites) I have also achieved a number of things that I will hold dear for the rest of my life… Successes and experiences that have shaped and continue to shape me as a person. Through each endeavor, be it a success or failure, I learn more about myself. And thus, through each endeavor, I experience moments of personal growth.

My advice, if there is any to be offered here, is to surround yourself with like-minded, positive people. Spend your time, effort, and energy with those who support you, and those who are loyal to you. Cultivate the relationships that move you forward.

Life is too short to be stuck in the murky cloudy gray of doubt. So why not pursue your goals and passions, regardless of potential outcome? At worst, you fail… and then wake up the next morning with the realization that the sky hasn’t fallen and that life goes on.

On the other hand, who knows, you might just succeed…