success snapshot - 5 months into this here blog

Since starting this blog and publicly musing about success, I've talked to a lot of friends in different fields about the whole matter.

Actors, of course, but also surgeons, writers and engineers and artists of assorted disciplines.

I have not spoken to a single person who felt successful.

What the hell is keeping us from saying, yes! Heck yes! I have accomplished a thing!?
Because we all have.
Perfectionism? Fear of coming across as arrogant? Restlessness?

I have seven months to figure it out, I guess. I'll let you know.


Beausephus said...

I blame parents. Artistry is not a job that many understand because it doesn't always result in what they consider to be successes.
Ok, maybe I just blame my parents...

Jeremy said...

Did you ever see the movie "Topsy Turvy"? It says a lot about success to me.

In it, Gilbert and Sullivan have had a successful play and they need to come up with another one. So they do. It's tough, and it takes a long time and some hard work, especially given the personalities of the cast, crew, each other... that counts as work too. Anyhow, when it's done, and a huge success, they don't feel like they're on top of the world... more like, well, there's another one done.

I think 'success' is largely a term that's used by award committees or in shareholder reports. 'Qualified success' is more how I think of my best stuff. Because it's not a 'work' to me, it's a part of my life, and lives are complicated things. Even if the thing itself was good, there might have been pieces that could have been better. Or there was something about the creation of it that felt off.

For me, the most successful points are where I'm thinking hard and feeling that little lift you get overcoming some obstacle. By definition, it's fleeting, and you don't get them without having had something to struggle against.

It's also a good reason to cleave 'happiness' from 'success' (and not to it,) since the pleasure in the work is so often unrelated to the world's view of the product.

Just my 4 cents.


tinyrun said...

oh, and technically, you have the rest of your life to figure that one out....

Lacy said...

Jeremy: Shit. I think you should take over this blog.
Separating success from happiness is a brilliant thought. Stupidly brilliant.

I don't quite know how to articulate it yet as a real post, but I wish I could get some international perspectives on this whole success thing. I'm beginning to wonder if there's something uniquely Puritanical and American about the way I'm looking at success and its importance.

Marisa Wegrzyn said...

Hi Lacy - to supplement your musing about success and happiness (or success leading to happiness - or vice versa), you might like the book "Stumbling on Happiness" by Daniel Gilbert. I bought it based on BoingBoing's recommendation, which has more to say about it: http://www.boingboing.net/2007/04/28/stumbling-on-happine.html

It's a good read. Made me think about - well - a lot.


Marisa Wegrzyn said...

Okay, if that address got cut off by Blogger, I trust you can go to boingboing.net or Amazon and find the book. I am not a success at Blogger comments.