How does a man measure his success in life?
We are inherently social creatures. We have evolved to live in communities, and our brains are programmed to recognise our place in hierarchical structures. If we judge ourselves to be low on the ladder, we have two choices – we can accept our lot, and resign ourself to a life of mediocrity, dolefully fulfilling our position at the bottom of the pecking order; or, as men of action, we can use it as impetus to improve ourselves, to raise our station relative to those around us, become inspired to further ourselves to rise above our allocated lot, and win the respect and admiration of those around us, deriving gains in our own feeling of self-worth.
Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs came from backgrounds of extreme hardship or poverty in childhood. Their lack of material possessions, or the luxurious trappings afforded by inherited affluence created a burning desire within them to better themselves, which remained with them throughout their adult life, propelling them to greater and greater feats of accomplishment. They began at the very bottom of the ladder, and instead of wallowing in self-pity, used their adversity as the driving force to build great and successful lives.
Most of us in the Western world were not born into these circumstances however. Raised in comfortable middle class surroundings, basic needs easily met, there was never the inherent need to force ourselves to try and make something of ourselves. How then are the conditions for competition and progress to be found?
A man who is genuinely concerned with continually finding opportunity to better himself must always seek out circumstances in which his natural drive to compete and rise through the ranks can manifest itself – attending a top school or university so that he is surrounded with excellent individuals against which he may measure himself academically; joining a large corporation so that he may rise up the ladder, competing against his colleagues to ensure that he comes out on top of the pile and win promotions and pay rises; moving from a small town to a capital city, brimming with members of the upper echelons of society.
This is why it is vitally important to always keep yourself moving on in life – do not stay at the same job for too long, do not live in the same city for decades, or remain locked in the same social circles which you have known since childhood – therein lies the path to stagnation and apathy. Instead, move to the largest urban centre you can find, quit your safe job and take a risk by joining a large company with more opportunities, and befriend people far more successful than yourselves – use them, their drive and their motivation to act as a launch pad for your own natural competitive instincts.
The higher you rise in life, the greater your success, the harder it may become to find these opportunities. But they do still exist – no matter how successful you become, there is always someone more successful, better at a given skill, or more driven than yourself – and it is your duty to seek them out, or else risk stalling and falling short of ever realising your full potential.
Strive to surround yourself with excellence at all times, and do not stop to pat yourself on the back too often, and you can achieve success greater than you ever envisaged.