What does success mean?
- The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.: ‘the president had some success in restoring confidence’
- The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status: ‘the success of his play’
- A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc.: ‘to judge from league tables, the school is a success’; ‘I must make a success of my business’
- archaic The good or bad outcome of an undertaking.: ‘the good or ill success of their maritime enterprises’
Oxford dictionary doesn’t say all that much about success…it’s as if it were also a bit confused what success really means and who can be considered a successful person. After all, everyone accomplishes some aims or purposes. But not all of us get famous and/or wealthy, not all of us get prizes, not all of us get the opportunity to deliver Oscar speeches. Why is that?
Things that matter
What makes some people special? Why are they always given to us as examples? Why do they lead? What do they do, that we don’t?
They probably do things that matter.
What matters? Probably professionalism, the knowledge acquired over the years, involvement in social matters, strength of character, stubbornness to continue even when things get tough, the ability to inspire others.
Modesty? Sometimes…some of the ones who get up there end up being a bit arrogant…I think it’s difficult not to. When an entire world tells you that you’re extraordinary, you’re better off believing them.
It doesn’t matter anymore that you know best who you are. It doesn’t matter that you know your limitations. It’s better to forget about them.
Confidence is key, they say. Bluffing or not, what’s the difference?
Our models of success
Joey, for example, is definitely a successful person. He studied business management abroad at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Now he works in an investment bank. He brings yearly tens of millions of euros to the bank – stock market and all sorts of derivatives. He has a good wage, he affords to fly across the world for his one week holiday. Car, house, holidays all around the globe…and he’s not even 35 yet.
Vote Kalokela for “successful person”
If it were a democratic voting system to determine who are those successful people, I would vote for Kalokela. Why?
Mainly for these reasons:
- I’ve never met a person as modest as her
- Her strength of character is incredible
- She’s very giving from the little she has
- It rarely happens that you don’t see her smiling
- She’s the bread winner of the family in a country in which women are most of the time house wives
- She has a huge heart
Who’s Kalokela and what’s her big success? Her big success is her ability of always having a smile on her face and of being so giving knowing that around 19 people (7 kids and 12 grandchildren) depend on her.
And knowing that all she has is the corn from the garden and her bike mechanic salary. All of them live in her house, just one of the kids is working. Her first born died a few years back when he was 42 years old. The second born is now 39.
Her husband is retired without a pension. He’s sick. He stays home and makes some income from fixing the neighbours’ shoes. He also fixed my running shoes, the bottom was coming off.
Kalokela was happy – one of her granddaughters was pregnant. The father of the baby…in some other town. She will soon also have a great-grandchild in her house, the first one.
Nonetheless, Kalokela is going every day early in the morning at work smiling, after having walked around 4/5 km. She is selling and repairing bikes together with her other four colleagues.
While we were there, she always came with her backpack full of boiled corn for me and Paulina, their visitors who were camping next to the bike shop.
We went to visit her house. There were loads of barefoot kids in front of the house playing football. Big neighbourhood full of kids, I thought to myself. Only afterwards I found out that most of them were actually staying in Kalokela’s house.
Her big soul left me speechless. Isn’t THIS a thing that matters? Isn’t her life a series of accomplishments? Isn’t she a successful person?
She definitely inspired me. Not just because of her story, but also because of her always positive attitude and her modesty.
She inspired me much more than the stories of people who become rich due to financial speculations or businesses with questionable ethics.
I really hope that our models of successful people will start to be more like Kalokela and less like Joey.
I honestly find it very sad that there are so many good people out there who end up putting so much effort into becoming a Joey, when they could actually give so much more to the society if they chose a different model of success.