Pictured over there is my favorite singer–Neil Finn. Most people in the United States don’t know he sang anything after Don’t Dream It’s Over as part of Crowded House, but in the UK and Australia he can fill a stadium. Is he a success? Some people think you have to make it big here in America to say you’ve truly made it. Does success have borders?
Success has been on my mind since I read a post over at DarcKnyt. What is success?
Do you define your own success? I don’t know…did Stalin think he was a success? But do you let others define success for you? That worked for Vincent van Gogh–after he was dead.
How much luck is involved in success? I’ve had the good luck to be born in central Florida instead of in slums in Bangladesh. I’ve had the luck not to be killed in infancy by SIDS, virus, or random accident. I’ve had the luck of being born in this time with after women’s lib and the Internet. These things required no work at all.
I’ve also spent years writing stories, rewriting, and making art from these stories. I like to think I put a lot of work into these things. But am I success?
Are you a success if you win the lottery or are born with money? I know this guy who will never have to work. The last I heard (he’s not someone I keep up with), he spent his money on golfing trips, wine buying trips, and trips to Mexico for the prostitutes.
How do you feel if success comes to easily? Some people believe they deserve the world at their feet even if they do nothing but look pretty. But some folks, perhaps more thoughtful people, worry they will be found out for frauds and they don’t deserve the accolades they receive. I’ve read interviews with writers who don’t understand why their book is successful when they know there are better writers out there. They worry that the next book will prove what frauds they are.
I’ve always thought there was more failure in not trying than in trying and falling on your face.
So you get this thing called success… then what happens? You have to keep it, of course. No one stays at the top forever. At the very least, you’ve got to die and whatever you’ve done will be outdone by someone else.
Cheery thought that!
You’ll get old. You’re books will stop selling. Is Harper Lee a success? If Hemingway was so successful, why’d he shoot himself?
I mentioned to Darc that I thought most people (I might’ve said all, but all is rarely ever correct) don’t believe they deserve their success. Not in their hearts. Oh, sure. I’ve met entitled people. They question nothing. They doubt nothing. But, all the same, I’ve heard plenty of Behind-the-Music-type interviews where people prove they think they are not worth all the praise, attention, money. Why self-destruct and throw everything away if success was happiness?
If you are not a success, then you must be a failure. Right? Really? But then maybe we aren’t all born sinners as much as we are born failures. Sounds a bit harsh though. Just try telling that to your kids. What would your kids have to do to be successful in your eyes? How different is that than what you expect of yourself?
So, if I never publish my novels, am I a failure?