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My Father’s Notes on Success
As I sit to write, I am reminded of a recent conversation I had with the amazing Eric Dawson and his team at RIVET. They are doing amazing work, supporting young changemakers and making the world a better place. During our chat, Eric asked me a question that took me back to my childhood: “Delight, what does success mean to you both personally and professionally?”
As a kid, I was always curious and possessed by an immense spirit of wonder. I would open weird and dangerous-looking boxes that others warned me not to, just to see what was inside. Among the many things that sparked my curiosity while growing up was the huge bookshelf in my home. It was filled with a lot of books. Some of these books were actually of no use to me, but a lot of them taught me a great deal about life, people, and places. I’d spend countless hours on a chair close to the shelf, holding a book much bigger than my arms and getting lost in the stories of people and places.
It was on that chair that I found something that would change the way I saw success forever. Apart from the published books on the shelf were a lot of notes written by my father. I was browsing through a set of his notes that day, admiring the artistic handwriting that looked similar to mine, when I came across the topic, “Good Success”.
According to him, he wanted and prayed that his children achieve not success, but good success. He said everyone pursues success and talks about being successful but not many talk about having 'Good Success' because the image of success painted by society has beclouded our thoughts.
He wrote that success, as defined by society, was wealth, fortune, and fame; achieving results and being recognised for those results achieved. But "Good Success," he said, was something different. It was the kind of success that revealed fulfilment within and evidence of that fulfillment on the outside.
He wrote, “Good success is realizing your dreams, living your dreams and people being affected positively by your dreams. It’s that kind of success which is never forgotten.”
“The question is - of what good is your success if people are not affected? You might be wealthy and famous and people know you but how many people really feel you?
“They say good attitude attracts good things so, if your attitude is not right, things will not be right with you.
Good Success says ‘If my life must affect people, then my attitude and everything about me must be right!’”
Reading through my father’s words that early gave me a sense of direction on what exactly I wanted to make out of my life. So when Eric asked me what success meant to me, I smiled and replied that it was not money, fortune, or fame. For me, success was the people I made happy, the vibrant young kids I used to teach who’d always scream ‘Master Dee’ whenever they saw me walking along their street. Success was the many faces that smiled back when I smiled at them. Success was the family somewhere once hopeless, but now grateful for the opportunity to dream of a better life.
I told him that success for me was not flamboyance or wealth. It was impact.
In my father’s words,
“Success says, ‘Look, that man was well known!’ But Good Success says, ‘Look, that man changed my life!’”
Let's strive for Good Success, my friend. Let's leave behind a positive mark on people, as we try to make every day count.