Reflections Thoughts on Success

Taller than Everest

What do you think you must accomplish to be successful?

Over five years ago, I attended an international meeting where I felt equal amounts of pride and trepidation about the calibre of people in attendance. I was honored to be among them, yet petrified that they would call me out for being too young or inexperienced. I was terrified that someone would ask me what I was doing there and send me home.

At the meeting, I had lunch with a very accomplished woman about twice my age. I sensed she asked me to join her for lunch because she saw through my fears. Maybe, she saw some of herself in me.

I’ll never forget what she said: “I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but as I look back, I see that my successes were too quickly replaced by new goals. My greatest punishment is that I’ll never be satisfied. There will always be more to do, and it will never end.”

As humans, we tend to replace one want with another. An accomplishment is quickly forgotten. The novelty of a new car wears off in days. An award is replaced by an aspiration for a new one. We thrive in aiming for new possibilities, but it is this mindset that allows a new thing to become old in minutes. And so, we never give ourselves enough credit for what we’ve accomplished. We never rest as we climb because it’s always about the next milestone on our mountain.

George Saunders said “success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it.” Do you celebrate your accomplishments or immediately start climbing higher? How high does your mountain go? Will you ever get to the top? Will you ever be satisfied?

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Feature Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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