May 13, 2015
The other day, my buddy Austin was telling me about an essay he was writing for one of his college classes. The essay prompt was:
“What is success? What does it mean to you?” Austin, who knows I enjoy reading about success, successful people’s stories, and the common threads in such stories,
sent me his essay and asked what I thought.
His essay was great – many good points were brought up: success is never final, and hard work will lead to success, are two that stood out. But overall, my opinion differed from his – and since we are always honest with each other, I shared with him my thoughts. In doing so, I thought it would be an interesting blog post to get people talking. So as you read, please think about what success means to you – what it means, what it looks like, how you obtain it – and comment at the end.
So here are my thoughts. (And remember, this is my opinion)
The word “success” is small, but its meaning carries substantial weight. The word is thrown around by people from all different corners of the world, as the desire to “do well” or “to achieve success” does not discriminate. Most people, when they think of success, probably think of positive end results: the student’s A+’s, the CEO’s seven-figure paycheck, the athlete’s awards. This is logical, because those grades and that money and that fame are all observable things – they are all goals achieved, boxes checked off. But what people don’t see – and what they sometimes refuse to see – is the work that produced those results.
To me, success is more than just an end result. Results are not coincidences; they do not materialize by happenstance or “luck”. I do not believe in ” luck”. The athlete who just got a multi-year deal? He didn’t wake up one day, roll out of bed, and land on a golden contract. The teacher whose class got the best results on the state tests? Not many people comprehend or appreciate the hard work and late hours he or she spent on helping those kids prepare. The end result is what people see and deem a “success”, but the person who strived for that result – who shed blood, sweat, and tears on the road towards that end goal – knows that a medal or a high GPA wasn’t an overnight victory. He or shes hard work, itself, is just as a great success as the end result is. Success is never final. Money and fame can run out but what was learned on the road to the achievement, can last a lifetime.
As athletes, my teammates and I have been given an unbelievable opportunity. After all, we get paid to play a game – and a game we love. But then again, not many people see the 6:00AM lifts, the late night games, the ten-hour bus rides, the being away from family for six months straight, and the rest of “the grind” we all endure in order to attain what we, as athletes, want. We don’t want to be minor league players; we want to be major leaguers and to help our respective organizations win a World Series.
That being said, we are in no position to complain. We play our favorite sport and we get paid to do so – and we owe it to our organizations to work as hard as possible to reach the Big Leagues. That is our duty, and we owe it to many people – most importantly ourselves. The last thing any athlete wants is to look back in thirty years and have any regrets. That is what will make you lose sleep at night.
In my opinion, success is a highly complex concept. The road to success is never-ending, and yet success can be fleeting. Not one single person can tell you what success is because success comes in so many different flavors. Success is in the eye of the beholder, and yet it’s too often measured in the eyes of the onlookers. What one person sees as success, another can see as failure, and vice-versa. That is the craziest part of this… Success is so complex, yet you – and only you – choose the meaning of it.
What do you think success is? Would love to hear from whoever would like to respond. Appreciate your time.
Great post! When thinking about success, I’ve always thought about it in the reverse: what do I want to be able to say I did/achieved from my death bed in order to consider my life a success? So I want to be a good husband, a good father, and a good man first and foremost. The dean’s list, a 7 figure paycheck, an MVP award, and a statue in the town square would mean nothing to me if I couldn’t say that I had been a good husband and a good father and a good man. Not that awards and accolades aren’t good, but I can’t see them meaning much to me on my death bed without the others. Just my thoughts. Thanks for sharing yours!
Many great points all around with an extra emphasis on success being in the eye of the beholder. Everyone has a different definition of success- it’s a reflection of the morals, values, and vision of the individual that seeks to obtain it or has achieved it. In order to obtain that highest level of success, in the way one personally defines it, there will be many failures and successes along the way, which will be some of the most defining moments and lessons learned during the journey.
To me, success is being able to do today what my future self, family, and future generations of family will thank me for. Success is chasing opportunities and following my dreams in order to create a name/legacy for myself (and provide for my family) while inspiring others to do the same. It’s about looking at myself in the mirror every single day and knowing I have given my 100% in coming that much closer to achieving my vision. It’s a mindset that has prevented me from ever being content or letting adversity define me. Chris Greene said it best- all the trophies, paychecks, awards, etc mean nothing if I am not a man of character who isn’t the best family man/friend/member of society I can possibly be.
I urge everyone reading this post to sit down for a few and think of your own personal definition of success. It’s something that might be a pivotal point in your life- something that triggers a positive change in your ways of thinking and living. As cliché as it sounds, we have one life to live- no one wants to sit on their “death bed” thinking of all the “ifs” or “could haves”.
You’re a champ, 22. I’m proud of the man you’ve become.
2 more cents for you…Rob, et. al.
Well done on the blog, good way to express yourself on the journey. I would argue I am definitely one to contest what success is. For me, personally, the things I have had to deal with, were many times, unique to my scenario/life story. So, how could someone else truly understand what I may deem success to be or not. Furthermore, who is to say that what I felt to be a failure wasn’t a success for the next person in line. It truly is unique to one’s life story. With that said, you may be given a good card at birth: whether good genes, safe, nurturing family, an environment that allows successes and failures to occur.
I think most people want to make big leaps in their journey. But, do those leaps really honor the journey? Are they realistic? There are many situations where you have no choice but to deal and make a massive leap. That’s is usually when you see the true legends show-up. It is the art of dealing.
What about contentment with success? E’rday, all day, people want the new thing. Even if they get what they want (success) are they content? I would argue that pursuing one’s own greatness, is the ability staring each day’s challenge in the face. If your goal is based upon daily success with big goals that gradually are chipped away at, then how can you go wrong? I believe this attitude is inherent in most champions they have a knack for the moment and strong desire to pursue their inner kid/dreams.
The last little bit of excellence I have for you, my unknown friend, is look at children. They are some of the most content people. Why? I would argue that play is the ultimate expression of oneself and this yields great contentment. The greats learn to grow into their play.
The last bit is success occurs now (the present). Now can be fast or slow. Truly a state of mind. I would argue that learning how to breathe is the ultimate grounder to the here and now. Become good at it and things start falling into place. OK grandpa legend, go play!!! Find what you are made of. See you along the way!..
From Florianopolis, Brazil
LikeLiked by 1 person
To me success is defined by the legacy that one leaves behind. Libraries, schools, charities, streets are named after people. These people didn’t roll out of bed and have a wing of a school or coliseum named after them. The Rosemary Heart wing at Ridgefield Middle School or the Roberto Clemente Sports Center, now that is success. So is the legacy I hope to leave behind and that is the kindness of my children and my nieces and nephews. Have a great year and create a legacy.
Love the blog and the fact that you are willing to share your thoughts. You nail it with this post. Life and all of its ups and downs is always about the journey and not simply about the destination. Although our society would like us to focus on the high life of the “stars” out there, there is much more to be learned and treasured in assessing the work and efforts of “everyman.” I know that I am not the only one who would say that the greatest successes often result from the pain of failure and defeat. Why is that? I do not know who the philosopher who wrote “Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising every time we fall.” Truer words were never spoken but as you well know and attest in your piece, there is no glory without effort. If I can, I’d like to share one of my favorite historical passages that was written by Teddy Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Congratulations on all of your efforts to date and sincere best wishes in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
First, I must ask, why this was labelled Daytona Florida? That is where I live, just curious. Second, I really like the concept that success is in the eye of the beholder. Onlookers can say what they want, and they will (fame or not), but in reality, if you have achieved something you feel pride in, that is the baseline definition of success. Hopefully, in a lifetime, we have many opportunities to achieve success. After saying all that, welcome to Cleveland. Look forward to seeing you pitching in Progressive Field in the near future (Cleveland raised, Daytona transplant, Hometown proud) #RollTribe