How do you measure success?

Most of our lives we are evaluated.  In school we get graded on our work and either a letter or numerical grade is assigned or perhaps the teacher gives you either a “pass” or a “fail.”  When we enter the workforce, our managers make a report on our performance.  We hope we get to keep our jobs and maybe even get a promotion that gives us more money in our paychecks.  So as you work on your projects, how do you measure success?  How do you decide if you are successful in completing the project or not?

For me, how I measure success is to evaluate the outcome.  If the result is what I wanted, then I was successful.  If the result is not what I wanted, then I was not successful.

As I mentioned last month, I know of a self-proclaimed expert who believes that their long and diverse life experiences and related factors have enabled them to guarantee that everything they say is 100% fact and represents how people in the world do things; i.e., the unwritten international standards.

The expert believes that people generally set their goals way too low and that calling it a success if the goals are met would be hollow because the goals were too easy in the first place.  The expert says that people should set their goals just beyond what you believe is the best you can possibly do.  Even better if you set the goals to be something you believe is unobtainable.  And then you can finally call it a success if you complete the goals despite the perceived difficulty of completing the goals.  The expert also says if you don’t meet your goal, then you’re just not good enough and you need to immediately get yourself good enough or else you failed and everybody needs to tell you over and over again about how you failed so you learn from your mistake and never repeat it again.  The expert also says that dwelling on successes and not failures make you complacent and helps you set your goals low so that you can get more successes.  The expert says you should dwell on your failures and mostly ignore your successes so that you work/try harder next time and hopefully the next time will be a success.

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