Updated: Mar 28, 2019
I will never be successful. There I said it. I mean it. I will NEVER be successful. No matter what I do or what I attain, I will never be successful. I look up at the stairs that need to be climbed, and
I know that I'll never be a success. They say if I work hard and make a difference I will attain success. They say keep climbing, keep driving, keep pushing, give it your all and never give up.
They, first of all who is "they" anyway? They mean it when they say it. They point to people who have done it. Those people are the ones to look up to and to strive to be like when we, or in this case I, grow up. But no matter what I do I will never be a success.
Look at the picture again. I love this shot. I'm bias because I took it. Even if I hadn't, I am sure I'd love it. Does it seem endless, or does it look to stop? I can tell you that it only goes up 6 floors. So this picture is not of a stairway to the proverbial heaven but 60 some odd feet up inside a 100-yr old (or older) building. What happens when I reach the top? A roof is over my head. Have I "reached it" as they (again, who are they?) say? The building this pic was taken in has a giant deck off the top floor. What if I was out there? Would I call it success? Especially if I look at the building next to me that has 10 floors. I will never be successful.
You see, people talk about success as if it is this solid thing like a very real destination. In all truthfulness, it isn't at all. Success is fluid. It is ever changing, and it is subjective to each of us. No matter how high we climb, once we get there, we want to climb higher. We want to see the roof. We want to climb the next building with the 10 floors and then the next with the 20 floors. We want to stand out on the deck and take over the next space and then the next. Each time thinking
success is just conquering that next thing. Wouldn't it be grand to own that factory blowing all the smoke/steam into the sky? How about climbing that mountain to prove that human strength and determination has no equal? Maybe just making it across the land to the other side as far as the soul can take us. Or even being over it all, flying high in the sky? It is funny that word success.
I remember seeing something on the street as my friend and I walked from the coffee shop back to the old building where the stairs were located. As we walked by this pretty nice apartment complex, all over the ground were playing cards. I stopped and looked at them, and then thought
of the picture when I started thinking of this blog. Why? Well, because they represent success to me. In this picture there are 2 Aces, 2 Kings, 1 Queen, 1 Jack, 1 Ten and 3 cards face down. The Aces are the highest card in the deck (sans the Joker depending on the game), followed by the King, Queen, Jack, 10 and then the unknown cards. To any other single number, being a 10 would be amazing, but here a 10 is the lowest card we see. If it was a 5 on the ground, it would probably find achieving the level of "10" to be successful. What happens when it becomes a 10 and finds that the "top floor" isn't actually the top? It can be a Jack or a Queen or even a King and, gasp, an Ace. But, if you look at the picture, even though the Ace is the highest, it is still on the ground with the rest. Success is relative. The Ace of Spades may be the biggest, baddest card in the deck for a game of Spades but inside the box it is still just one of 52 cards. There is an interesting thing about the Ace. In a game of Gin Rummy, the Ace can be either the highest card in the deck (15 points, I believe) or the lowest (5 points) depending on where it is played. See, when I was on the 6th floor of that building, I was the highest. I was in the penthouse. But the moment I stepped out on that balcony, I was low again. What happened to my success?
That Ace represents how we see life: as a constant battle to gain something new. No matter how many times we make it, the level we called "successful if I can get to that point" we will never be happy. There will always be something more that now "needs" to be done. Think about it for a second. You ever tell yourself, "Why not do this now that I've gotten this far?" When we are looking up at something it is easy to imagine that reaching that goal will be successful, but we often are looking at a new thing as soon as the level is reached. This is why I will never be successful. It isn't a thing. It isn't real. It is a word written on the sand of the coast right after the wave rushed back into the sea. For a minute it's vibrant, legible, understandable and even shiny, but within seconds it will be washed over, and it will disappear. Nothing like success.
I will never be successful, but I don't have to be. I just have to learn to see the world and myself in the right light. See what I did there? Picture of street lights and I dropped the "in the right light" on you. That sounds funny and witty to me. Yup, I just pointed it out too. But in all seriousness, this image was taken as my biz partner and I were headed to a seminar to learn ways to improve our business, portfolios and offerings. You know, "how to be more successful" type stuff. Life is very interesting when it puts these little lessons right in front of your face providing you are willing to see them. Why does this image represent my point? I'm glad you asked.