On Appreciation and Success

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I attended my neighbor’s funeral service today. The person there who showed the most grief on her face, in her voice and whole body was her daughter. The two argued like cat and dog when she was alive. Today she shared with me all of these good memories she had of her mother…They were recent memories too, which was surprising and so sweet to me since her mother unintentionally put the family through a lot of stress recently. I guess people don’t appreciate who they have until they’re gone. I’ve been contemplative today despite being very busy. I was thinking that maybe that’s just the way it is: we won’t be appreciated deeply until we are missed, so we shouldn’t take things too personally….?

I’ve also been thinking a lot about what “success” really means to me any more. My latest employers say I’m “walking on water” yet I don’t teach a whole lot differently than I did at my other schools. My principal says he especially liked that I took time off last year to study. He says it shows I am dedicated to my field. I don’t want to be defined by other people’s ideas of success because I’m still the same person I was at other schools, so it bothered me a bit that I couldn’t define success for myself… Because all successes and failures are impermanent so I don’t want to base my happiness and feelings of gratification on the approval or disapproval of others. In some ways, I have changed. I’ve learned how to act confidently and to be my own publicist…Because really…who really knows what you do with your day but you….? Everything else anyone hears about is really just gossip which is what happens when you aren’t being your own publicist…People make up a story/ stories based on speculation because they don’t know you and they want a story… I’ve learned all of this through much trial and error, so perhaps the meaning of success is the ability to continue to be open to learning as opposed to defensive and afraid to fail; and thus, afraid to try/ learn new things because it takes many failures to master new skills. The meaning of success then…is perhaps to not be afraid of failure, to accept that failure is part of the cycle of learning/ growing/ success. This can be applied to any area of life. Are you a success at your relationship with your family/ friends? That depends…Are you still trying/ growing/ learning despite frustrations or have you given up due to fear/ aversion to/ of pain/ failure? If one stays on the road/ journey/ path/ cycle of success rather than giving up, how can one possibly be a failure? To stay on the path means continual growth.

-What is your definition of success?

-Do you think one can truly be appreciated while one is alive?

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3 responses »

  1. Success to me is simply living each day as it comes. being retired and full time care giver to my husband makes my successes different than some one younger and employed outside the home.
    Yes I know someone can be appreciated while they are still alive.

  2. oh i really like this. i noted a big difference in you since we last met. more relaxed, confident. as you pointed out, success/failure are not permanent. nothing is, but we seem to hold onto our failures longer than our successes. success? i guess it is the feeling i get. i feel good. but i really do not think about it for myself, but look for it in others to point it out to hopefully make them feel good.
    good post

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