Success and Spaceships. And cancer. (A rational assessment of irrational inspirations.)



I’ve been seeing a lot of article headings like this, online: ’7 Things you need to be successful’, or ‘5 Things you must do to be successful’, or ‘Lists you need to keep to be successful’.

At what?

Successful at what?

When I read the lists, they don’t tell me what the goal is. They just assert that a particular digital app, or a particular waking time, is the way to get there. But how many maps have you seen that show you the one route to anywhere?

You can’t deem something ‘successful’ without first defining what the objective is.

Let’s say I start a business with the goal of creating teleportation devices for the common man, to cut down their commute times and reduce impact of car exhaust on the local environment.

I then make ridiculously huge amounts of money from this business. I sip water distilled from the snowy slopes of Mt Everest, while lounging in a vat of cottonballs in my spaceship. (I may as well go all out with this example, if I’m already teleporting stuff.)

However, the teleportation devices aren’t capable of teleporting anything larger than a canary. Fortunately for Hypothetical-Me, I found there’s good money in instant-trafficking canaries. Enough to fund a spaceship with a cottonball vat.

As I travel at warp speed through the solar system, I’m rich, and I’m certainly well-travelled, but I’m not successful. I would only have been successful if my goal had been to make an obscene amount of money. Or undertake interstellar travel. The two are closely related, anyway.

I’m not successful until I can get the device to teleport a man to his workplace, and so get the inner city air to smell less like the fart of a freight truck.

Success is like cancer. You read that right. (Presuming you’d read, ‘Success is like cancer.’)

I hope you’ll keep your Canis Offensis leashed for the moment. I understand it’s very vogue to be offended these days, but at least understand what I mean, first.

Cancer isn’t a singular disease that can be cured. A cancer is a spreading abnormality. One person’s cancerous cell is not necessarily the same as another person’s cancerous cell. The only thing cancer is, is divergence from what it’s supposed to be.

This is why there can be no umbrella ‘cure for cancer’—because a panacean pill, something that will fix any and all abnormalities, is supported not by science, but by fantasy writers. And probably not very good ones, at that. (Chemotherapy may be a blanket treatment, but it can be likened to a ballistic missile; something that assaults whatever gets in the way. Chemo is not a cure—it’s an armed strike.)

Cancer is not a singular disease. This is why, at a mechanical level, there is no cure for it. And why, logically, there can’t ever be one.

Similarly, success is not a singular state. The only thing success is, is achievement of the pre-determined objective. Thus, there can be no singular formula for success—because one person’s objective is not necessarily the same as another person’s objective.

On assessment, my own inspirational guide would be much shorter. I’d call it, ‘Two things you can do to be successful. (And you only have to pick one.)’

1) Decide what you’d like for Future-You, then use calculated, purposeful methodology to achieve that pre-determined objective. Methodology will vary according to objective.

2) Make your objective whatever commendable thing you’ve already done.

There you go. You have the closest thing you can get to the uniform formula for success. And it doesn’t tell you to download anything, or get up any earlier than you already do.

You’re welcome.


(2) Comments

  • Deborah Makarios
    07 Oct 2016

    At last! A recipe for success that doesn’t involve getting up earlier! Expand on this a bit, sell it as an e-book, and you could be looking at a vat of cottonballs sooner than you think.

    • Eve
      07 Oct 2016

      Yes! And the retirement plan is birthed!

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