Measuring Success – A Story of Two Gentlemen

A number of years ago one of my teachers, an NLP Trainer of some repute, was interviewing a pair of men. One was a gentleman who by just about anyone’s measure was extremely successful; he had money, a good job, a loving partner, a good home, etc., and yet he was acting depressed much of the time.

By contrast the second gentleman was, by most typical measures, struggling. He never finished high school, did not have a permanent job, did not have a home, money nor relationship, but it seemed like he was always happy. He was universally liked if not loved and positively lit up any room he walked into.

The first man was asked, “Are you successful?”

He said “No.”

Asked how he made that evaluation he ran off a long list of criteria… He had not been the top of his H.S. class, did not attend an Ivy-League school, was not married with two children by the time he was 25, did not live in the best neighborhood, did not work for a top law firm, etc., etc., etc.

(Pretty easy to see how he was never going to BE happy either with criteria that was all in the past… one can’t very well go back into your past and attend an Ivy-League school, get married earlier, and so forth)

Then the second man was asked “Are you successful?”

He said, “Yes, I am!”

Asked how he made that evaluation he said, “Every morning I get out of bed and look down at my feet. If they are above the ground, it’s a great day!”

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