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Success: 4 quotes that will change how you perceive it

Updated on May 16, 2018
Van Nchogu profile image

Am a storyteller, thinker and researcher which i infuse in my writings to communicate better to my readers,

However difficult may seem, there's always something you can do and succeed- Stephen Hawking
However difficult may seem, there's always something you can do and succeed- Stephen Hawking

The Story of Charles and Eric

Charles is 30 years old, a lawyer by profession, and a junior partner in the country’s top law firm. His wife is an investment banker working for an international corporation dealing in hedge funds & commodities; they’ve been married for 5 years and their 2 beautiful daughters attend an international school whose yearly tuition fees can buy a decent car. They recently purchased a 4 bedroom house in the city’s suburbs and are building a holiday cottage in a prime land they own along the pristine beaches at the coast. Then we have Eric, he’s of the same age as Charles, a bachelor, has a college degree and currently unemployed but is an aspiring actor getting unpaid roles for years now with a small clothes business earning enough money covering his most immediate needs and stays in a one bedroom house.

At first glance, Charles is the definition of the word success, he has it all; a great job, a wife to die for, his children attend an international school, a home owner in the leafy suburbs while constructing a beach house at the coast and he’s only 30. Eric on the other hand has nothing worth mentioning apart from his college degree and by society standards he’s a failure compared to Charles.

So by general definition, Success is the attainment of societal expectations of us, it’s the measure of how far we have achieved the standards set by our parents, peers and the community. The more we surpass what’s expected of us, the more successful we’re seen and idolized by the society.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

Albert Einstein

Going by what the most brilliant mind in 20th century and creator of Atomic bomb, we should strive for values rather than success. How can Einstein with his many accolades appear to shun success yet he was successful beyond measure, embrace values. By values we mean someone who has an unquestionable character, is honest, kind, trustworthy, and principled. So in his view people should strive for values that maintain good, healthy relations in the society and help those in distress. Thus good values are the yardstick which success is measured, and hence aim for it.

Those who have interacted with Charles said he’s likeable, aggressive, dedicated to his work, and an intellect but also short tempered, arrogant, dismissive, proud and over confident with Eric being quiet, reserved, and somehow an introvert but honest, calm, reliable and trustworthy guy as seen by others. Thus Eric is successful as envisaged by Einstein’s quote with his honest, reliable and trustworthy character whose values creates harmony, peace and promotes good relations with others. He creates a sense of ease around those who interact with him and is approachable. This is what Einstein suggested we aim in life against the societal expectations in striving for success at the expense of values, and it’s what will determine how our success will be.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”.

Winston Churchill

Since he began pursuing an acting career, Eric has never land a major gig and is yet to get a paid one. Fascinated by acting as a kid, his father noted his enthusiasm and occasionally took him to local theatres which emboldened his passion for acting. In school he actively participated in acting, landing small roles but never went far and in college he got roles in major plays. After graduating, he was employed as a clerk at a local bank, which meant pausing on acting and concentrate on his new job. His passion for acting over rode his desire to stay in employment, after 3 years he threw caution to the wind and quit, using his personal savings he established a business dealing in imported clothes giving him the much needed space to pursue acting. With enough spare time, he started auditioning any gig advertised and attended acting classes. As time passed, opportunities became limited, and mainly got roles in minor plays. He contemplated giving up and returning to formal employment but soldiered on.

Probably most of us would have done the rational thing by abandoning acting and move on other sensible opportunities but as Churchill said, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. When we consistently perceive any hurdles& misfortune as failure then every time we’re faced with them, our resolve is shattered and fate takes its course in controlling our destiny. One can never be successful all the time as be a failure always, they’re intertwined; how we interpret and respond to any misfortune& hurdle is what defines us. People should pursue what makes them happy, shun the negative vibes, be courageous in embracing failure, have an open mind, and approach it objectively. Evaluate and learn from your failure, make necessary changes, soldier on with a fresh impetus and success will follow.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

Bruce Lee

When growing up, Charles admired the local shopkeeper; he was fascinated by the numerous transactions made, interaction with satisfied customers, organized records kept, and the revenues accrued. Hence he resolved to become a businessman in future, at school Charles was in the middle of numerous deals; he pursued business related subjects and excelled in them. He came from a successful family, his father was a High court judge, while the mother a prolific defense lawyer, and his elder siblings were both advocates.

As time passed, Charles became more determined in pursuing business as a career, resolving it was his destiny in becoming a successful one and started saving whatever he could. After getting involved in a dubious deal in school, he was suspended incensing his parents and got a severe reprimand with a warning to be disowned if ever he indulged in business. His priorities were reevaluated to a path towards the legal profession and kept a close watch on him. Torn between becoming a lawyer as his siblings and pursuing business, Charles chose following his family’s wishes.

As we grow up, instinctively our desires & interests manifest gradually and by the time we hit puberty they become our life’s goals & objectives. Through our interactions with others, we learn their interests, how they plan to achieve them in comparison with ours. If theirs is practicable, realistic & sure path to success, we immediately copy them. Today's’ obsession in duplicating others’ success is firmly rooted; we want to be successful as others by any means, reasoning whatever worked for them will similarly work for us. Just as a swan can never be an eagle, you can never be another person; you’re the best version of you whatever the circumstances faced , have faith, courage, believe in yourself and chart your own success.

Seneca, a philosopher and founder of stoicism
Seneca, a philosopher and founder of stoicism

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”


We often embrace happiness that comes with success; it’s it byproduct, after all its rewards are the luxuries only dreamt of and now they’re within reach. Through success; that dream car is affordable, we can live in a fancy neighborhood, take expensive holidays, upgrading our social status, fat bank account, and envied by many. Anyone will be happy about the rewards brought by success, it’s what you’ve worked hard for, the dedication, sweat and time has paid off. But the great stoic philosopher, Seneca affirmed True happiness is at the present, whatever the situation you’re in, always fixate on today, discard uncertainties of tomorrow, love what you’re doing, and be content with what you have now

Enjoy the little achievements made today; be content & happy with what you have presently, shun expectations which stoke anxiety and eventually True Success will follow.

© 2018 Van Nchogu


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