What does the word successful mean to me?
Successful is someone who understands what they are doing. It doesn’t matter what the role is, how junior or how senior, what separates a successful person from an unsuccessful is understanding- or lack of.
Let me take my two passions, banking and writing
Success in banking
To me, a successful banker understands how the financial sector works as a whole and also their specific role in it. For example, someone working in a branch should know what purpose the branch has in the overall hierarchy, the sorts of things people come into branches about and also the types of problems than can happen. For example, if you work in a branch, a common problem can be setting up accounts. A successful person here understands how it all works, they take ownership of problems, they use their knowledge to help people. A customer needs a payment to be made now but don’t have online banking for faster payments? Suggest manual chaps payments. Understand how your own little corner of the world works, what is in your power to do and I would consider you successful.
Conversely an unsuccessful person doesn’t know what they are doing. I have seen this, people who leapfrog from one job to the next, more interested in the increased pay than what the role even involved. I have nothing against greed but that doesn’t mean you cant still do a good job. On the contrary, if you do a good job, you should demand more. Greed and competence can go hand in hand. Greed and incompetence is a toxic mix. Generally these unsuccessful people are already planning their next career move so they don’t want to really get to grips with the nuances involved. They want to be okay at their job, just okay enough to hop onto the next one. If one of these unsuccessful people start working in the fraud team for example but really harbour desires to join the better paid marketing division, then they don’t give it 100%. Instead they skim the surface, doing things only if it looks good on the CV and never gain much more than surface knowledge. The fact they don’t really understand or are even very good at their job doesn’t bother them.
Sadly people like this can often end up in senior positions and when they do, disaster ensues because their lack of knowledge becomes fatal. *cough* 2008 banking crash *cough* *cough*
I am always trying to understand more about the world of banking, always reading, studying and more to make sure that when I meet someone, I can help them, when there are dangers in the sector, I spot them.
Success in writing
I don’t think you can define a successful writer purely by sales alone. There is a lot of rubbish out there I dare say haha. Likewise if the book doesn’t sell well but has heaps of critical acclaim from all the proper literary critics, that doesn’t mean it is successful either.
Money and prestige are secondary to understanding. Does the author understand what they want to do with his story? Do they understand that first and foremost, writing has to be for the reader? I always think you can tell when you have this sort of considerate writer, even the first few pages you can tell.
A successful writer to me understands all this. An unsuccessful writer is someone who would give no consideration to what they are writing, couldn’t care less about the reader, has no real idea what they even want the story to be.
Not everything needs to have some deep meaning- I am writing a horror story to scare the reader. That is a sufficient answer. If you don’t know what the heck you are doing, how can the reader?
Success is understanding your role or what you want to do.
Unsuccessful is not understanding what you are doing and not wanting to.