The mean­ing of true suc­cess

There is one as­pi­ra­tion we all share, one am­bi­tion that drives all of us. We all want suc­cess in our lives.

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - OPINION - Pro­fes­sor Arthur GO Mu­tam­bara is a for­mer Prime Min­is­ter in the in­clu­sive Gov­ern­ment of Zim­babwe. The above has been adapted from a speech he made as guest speaker at a re­cent speech and-prize-giv­ing night at Hillcrest Col­lege in Mutare Prof Arthur G.O. M

STU­DENTS want to be suc­cess­ful. Teach­ers are de­sirous of suc­cess and, of course, par­ents love suc­cess.

How­ever, do we have a clear un­der­stand­ing of what it means to be suc­cess­ful?

Fa­mous peo­ple are suc­cess­ful, are they not? Rich peo­ple are suc­cess­ful, are they not? Ed­u­cated peo­ple are liv­ing suc­cess­ful lives, is that the case? Of course, those with power — the politi­cians — have suc­cess sorted, is that how it is? No, no, no. Fame, wealth, ed­u­ca­tion and power do not con­sti­tute the def­i­ni­tion of suc­cess. They are not suc­cess.

Do not get it twisted. At best, fame, wealth, ed­u­ca­tion and power — if wisely used in an in­spired and val­ues-driven, pro­gres­sive and ef­fec­tive way — can lead to suc­cess.

Suc­cess is about hap­pi­ness and great re­la­tion­ships filled with love and joy. Let us start with the in­di­vid­ual. How happy are you? Are you con­tent? Do you have peace of mind? Do you have a smile on your face? How is your phys­i­cal, men­tal and spir­i­tual health?

Th­ese are the ques­tions you must an­swer in the af­fir­ma­tive if you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing suc­cess. It is about self-sat­is­fac­tion.

Suc­cess is about lov­ing your­self, lov­ing what you do, and lov­ing how you do it. It is about liv­ing a mean­ing­ful and ful­fill­ing life. How are you liv­ing? Suc­cess is about seek­ing wis­dom and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing con­tin­u­ous growth.

Suc­cess is about the peo­ple around you, in the fam­ily, or­gan­i­sa­tion, com­mu­nity or coun­try.

How happy are the peo­ple around you? Do the peo­ple around you love you? Do they even like you? Do you em­power, in­spire and give mean­ing to the lives of peo­ple around you?

Th­ese are the chal­lenges we must ad­dress as we seek to de­fine suc­cess.

How is your mar­riage? Is there love in your mar­riage, or is it a love­less mar­riage? How happy is your fam­ily? Is there laugh­ter and the abun­dance of joy? Are your kids happy, self-con­fi­dent, driven and achiev­ing their goals?

The def­i­ni­tion of per­sonal achieve­ment must in­clude both a suc­cess­ful mar­riage and a suc­cess­ful fam­ily.

A key as­pect of the def­i­ni­tion of suc­cess in­volves hav­ing a last­ing im­pact on so­ci­ety beyond the in­di­vid­ual, our fam­i­lies and im­me­di­ate or­gan­i­sa­tions or in­sti­tu­tions.

We must com­bine knowl­edge, wis­dom, and ideas to make an en­dur­ing dif­fer­ence in the world.

Fame, wealth, ed­u­ca­tion and power must be ju­di­ciously de­ployed to im­prove the state of the world, by en­hanc­ing the qual­ity of peo­ple’s lives, and mak­ing their ex­is­tence more mean­ing­ful.

The high­est stage in the hi­er­ar­chy of hu­man needs — self-ac­tu­al­i­sa­tion — as de­fined by Abra­ham Maslow is highly in­ad­e­quate. It is so yes­ter­day.

As we pur­sue suc­cess we must self-tran­scend, go beyond self and leave a legacy. The Gandhi legacy. The Man­dela legacy. The Chitepo legacy.

Legacy speaks to an en­dur­ing im­pact that will ex­ist even when one is not alive to en­joy the glory or thun­der that em­anates from it. Suc­cess should not be about you. We must go beyond self. In fact, self­less­ness is the ul­ti­mate gift to your­self.

This high­est stage of suc­cess is also called sig­nif­i­cance. We must all mi­grate to­wards sig­nif­i­cance.

Hence, I say to you all: “Yes, you are a baller, but are you sig­nif­i­cant? Yes, you are a shot-caller, balling out of con­trol, but are you sig­nif­i­cant? Yes, you are a rock star in your trade, the su­per­star of your pro­fes­sion, but are you sig­nif­i­cant?”

Let us have clar­ity about the def­i­ni­tion of suc­cess. It is about hap­pi­ness, a mean­ing­ful life, ful­fill­ing re­la­tion­ships, so­cial im­pact, legacy and sig­nif­i­cance.

Now that we have a sense of what it means to be suc­cess­ful, the next part of our dis­cus­sion then be­comes: What does it take to achieve suc­cess? How do we travel from where we are to the de­sired des­ti­na­tion, the Promised Land called “suc­cess”?

There are three key en­ablers on that jour­ney: (a) the devel­op­ment and adop­tion of good habits, (b) free­dom from self-doubt, and lastly, (c) per­sis­tence and per­se­ver­ance.

The start­ing point in the pur­suit of suc­cess is the devel­op­ment and adop­tion of good and win­ning habits.

A habit is some­thing that one re­peat­edly or reg­u­larly does.

Ex­em­plary and key­stone habits in­clude hav­ing vi­sion (start­ing with the end in mind), be­ing proac­tive and ac­tion-ori­ented, plan­ning, hav­ing strong willpower, hard work, self-de­ter­mi­na­tion, do­ing first things first, a win­win at­ti­tude, em­pa­thy, reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ex­er­cise, healthy eat­ing, a read­ing and writ­ing cul­ture, do­ing the lit­tle things right, med­i­ta­tion, em­brac­ing syn­ergy, and oc­ca­sional per­sonal re­newal.

Dr Stephen R Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Ef­fec­tive Peo­ple” is a must-read.

Since we are at a school, it is im­por­tant to em­pha­sise the im­por­tance and im­pact of sport and other ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties in the devel­op­ment and adop­tion of good habits.

Sport teaches us the value of reg­u­lar ex­er­cise, team spirit, per­se­ver­ance, lead­er­ship and hard work. Beyond-the­class ac­tiv­i­ties nur­ture our habits, and fos­ter the at­ti­tude that says knowl­edge is global. All knowl­edge is im­por­tant, and all fields of study are wor­thy of our cu­rios­ity. We must keep learn­ing, about ev­ery­thing. Th­ese are the habits of the re­nais­sance men and women we must as­pire to be.

But why are habits im­por­tant? “We are what we re­peat­edly do. Suc­cess, then, is not an act, but a habit.” With th­ese words, we are para­phras­ing the wis­dom in­spired by the work of the great Greek philoso­pher Aris­to­tle, and cod­i­fied by the mod­ern philoso­pher and au­thor Wil­liam James Du­rant. Habits can trans­form lives. Fur­ther­more, habits de­fine and evolve into one’s char­ac­ter. As the old adage goes, “watch your char­ac­ter, it be­comes your destiny!”

We want our destiny to be suc­cess — hap­pi­ness, a mean­ing­ful life, ful­fill­ing re­la­tion­ships, so­cial im­pact, legacy and sig­nif­i­cance.

Hence we must de­velop and adopt good habits and win­ning be­hav­iours, as a ba­sis for a fine char­ac­ter epit­o­mised by dig­nity, in­tegrity, hu­mil­ity and self-aware­ness. Strength of char­ac­ter is the foun­da­tion of suc­cess.

A high in­tel­li­gence quo­tient (IQ) alone will not get you there. You need self-aware­ness, emo­tional in­tel­li­gence (EQ) and cul­tural in­tel­li­gence (CQ).

Self-aware­ness refers to con­scious knowl­edge of one’s own char­ac­ter, feel­ings, per­son­al­ity and in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

EQ speaks to the abil­ity to un­der­stand your own emo­tions and those of oth­ers, lead­ing to ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of the re­la­tion­ships, pro­cesses and tasks.

CQ is the abil­ity to move in and out of dif­fer­ent busi­ness, so­cial and po­lit­i­cal cul­tures while main­tain­ing high per­for­mance and pre­mium re­sults.

How­ever, it all starts with good habits and win­ning be­hav­iours!

To be continued

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