Saturday, March 4, 2017
(Editor's note: Found this essay and several others while digging through my documents folder on my computer. With a few additions and polishings, here it is for your consideration. A few years old, but still relevant.)
One of the bigger questions in life is how we judge our successes, whether they be in business, in school, or in personal dealings. It is in my personal opinion that the way to determine success would be to consider both everything I have done, the work I've put into doing them, and the impact that those things have had on other people, places, and things.
Let's say that your work involves advising a team of scientists and mechanics on the inner workings of a medical device they are trying to build for surgical purposes. For me to do the job well, I would need to extensively research and bring to attention the most accurate and fact-based information I can find on the subject(s) at hand. The information accuracy and success of the device being created is pivotal, as there are literally lives which may depend upon this being produced properly. For me to have given the scientists and mechanics the information needed to make a quality, life-saving product would be something which I would consider a great success on my part.
Some people like to gauge their successes based on how much money they are taking in, which is great if you are being paid to make a quality product which improves peoples' lives. That said, there are many others who are paid to do things that adversely impact people. For instance, mafia hit-men, prostitutes, lobbyists, Congressmen, trial lawyers, and General Motors' management are all paid handsomely for their efforts, while at the same time turning in a product that hurts, to varying degrees, the people for whom it is intended. As the Bible says, money(to say nothing of what the money is spent on) both corrupts and is the top personification of greed, the biggest root of evil in the world. My aim in making a product is to create something which serves people well. It would be disappointing to me if I turned out something that adversely impacted someone in any way.
In conclusion, while there are many ways for an individual to determine his own success, I have determined that the best way for me to determine my own success is to consider what I have done and how it has affected people. Several years back, when I was writing a paper for a GED test on how I thought I would be remembered, I said that the way I would be best remembered would be for both my YouTube videos and my (dubious)presence on the political blogosphere, and the sentiment still holds true today. Whether or not that is a good thing is up to others to judge. While it is great to make lots of money, I think that it is better to try to turn out a quality product that helps people, even if it should result in my not being paid more for my efforts.