right, let’s get scientific

Somewhere on the last blog post I shared a thought by Bernard Shaw that said, ‘Don’t try to live forever, for you will not succeed’.

But what if today I shared with you an even better thought than that? The thought, or the idea that has some strong scientific evidence attached to it… would you share it as well?

Right, I’ll share it in just a moment but first, let me ask you a question.

Do you consider yourself a successful person? Quite a straightforward question that is, don’t you think? But before you answer it, let’s ask yet another one… What’s success?

Well, let me tell you what I know so far. According to Earl Nightingale,

‘Success is a progressive realisation of a worthy ideal or a worthy goal’.

That’s if you are on the path to something you consider worthwhile then, according to this definition, you are a success.

So if you are a teacher or you are in the process of becoming one, and that’s what you’ve decided to do with your life, then you are a success.

but this definition feels a bit selfish, doesn’t it?

It appears to say, when it comes to success, it’s all about you and what you want.

So, let’s try to get a bit deeper. How about we pay a visit to Richard Branson’s book, Business Stripped Bare where we find these words:

‘Success is whether you have created something that you can be really proud of.’

Richard insists that success is not all about money:

‘Nobody should be remembered for how much money they have made in life. Whether you die with a billion dollars in your bank account or $20 under you pillow is actually not that interesting. That’s not what you’ve achieved in life.

He adds,

‘What matters is whether you’ve created something special – and whether you’ve made a real difference to other people’s lives.’

And so in the end, he writes…

‘In business, as in life, all that matters is that you do something positive.’

now here is an interesting fact about success

Did you know that success can help you live longer?

Well, it’s true! Scientists have already concluded that. This is that thought that I wanted to share with you in this post, so please, allow me to share a bit more…

  • success makes you smarter
  • success adds to your creativity
  • success accelerates your drive, your motivation
  • but also success is addictive

how do I know?

Well, the book I’m now reading (about to finish it, actually) is the answer.

It’s called The Winner Effect: The Science of Success and How to Use It by Ian Robertson.

It’s a well written book. A book to keep. Not the kind of book you throw to a charity bookshelf only after the first read. Not at all. It’s a book that really gets your focus up to speed.

And I also think, the author could easily call himself a pro sales person, or a rare sort of copywriter but not so inspiring politician.

Also, there is nothing too scientific about his writing… I mean, even if your vocabulary is as average as mine, you’d still flip the pages halfway through the book without any need for a dictionary.

but what about its content? is it any good?

Well, to be fair, the content is fascinating.

If success is your desire, if personal development is your thing, if personal improvement is what you are after, then don’t be surprised if you read the book cover to cover.

But then this book has one hitch: it cannot help much to improving a person’s attitude. Let me explain.

The book talks about people as if they were children – reacting to what is happening around their worlds.

In other words, the book shares its in-depth thoughts and facts derived from responses people show when they are given certain stimuli.

And here is the thing, the stand out stimuli in Robertson’s book is power. Apparently, power is like a drug – both good and bad.

On good side, power makes people contribute to  prosperity of the world.

While on the other side…

  • power makes people miserable
  • power makes people irresponsible, selfish
  • and so forth

But from what I know, decent grown-ups act from principles and not stimuli, from values and not from what’s thrown their way.

In other words, books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey do a better job than Robertson’s.

Covey’s book seems to work its magic ‘inside out’ while Robertson’s book ‘outside-outside’. Let me explain that a bit.

the levels of growth and understanding

People who react to what is happening around them are after all, dependent – as far as the levels of growth and understanding are concerned.

And that’s the reason that I’ve mentioned above that Robertson’s book talks about people as talking about children – we all know that children are super dependent. But why?

Well, the simple answer is that, they don’t know any better way to respond to what’s happening around them than to react.

But that’s not how adults are supposed to live their lives… well, sort of. Only if they think they are independent entities.

The truth is, we aren’t any independent from one another. The fact is, we are ‘inter-dependent’ – two levels higher than where The Winner Effect is written.

The second level of growth and understanding, if you’d like to know, is independent. It’s a higher, a bit nobler, better than that of a child. But still, not so mature enough to declare freedom from reacting on what is happening.

From a dependent or child level, this level is like a teenager. And you know what that means.

something good. something else.

Of course, Robertson has something good to say… like,

‘Success changes the chemistry of the brain, making you smarter and more focused, confident and aggressive… the more you win, the more you will go on to win.’

But he also writes something else that doesn’t make anyone, well, let’s say not smarter, not that focused, not so confident and definitely not all that aggressive. He writes:

‘Leaders must have power (or ‘an appetite for power’, as he writes elsewhere in the book), but they have to feel constrained and accountable in their use of it – to some degree held in check by other people and systems.’

Note the words feel, constrained, accountable, and other people and systems.

People who ‘have to feel constrained and accountable’ aren’t people, in my view, that we should even consider for power. It’s like letting your 8 years old son run your household… Don’t ever tell me your house is on fire!

But hey, don’t get me wrong, I still love the book. There aren’t so many books out there with this level of thinking. That said, I think only avid readers of such thoughtful, carefully written books will be able to, in the end, collect and connect the missing dots to complete the success puzzle.

anyway…

One thought I’m glad to have come to know from this scientific, and not boring read is this: even though success can be addictive, it makes us smarter, more focused, confident and aggressive. And as these qualities help us win again and again, in the end, we live even longer.

We live longer because by being successful we feel good about ourselves (there is more to that in the book… all the psychology stuff and more).

We live longer because success means that we are in control… and that is a good thing!

Even so, please remember Branson’s definition as you try to reconfigure your success map:

‘Success is whether you have created something that you can be really proud of.

‘Nobody should be remembered for how much money they have made in life. Whether you die with a billion dollars in your bank account or $20 under you pillow is actually not that interesting. That’s not what you’ve achieved in life.

‘What matters is whether you’ve created something special – and whether you’ve made a real difference to other people’s lives.’

So, stay progressive.

Embrace success.

And live longer.


#yourthoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s