Always aim for achievement, and forget about success. Helen Hayes

To achieve success one has to chart out the course of action and mark out the critical milestones that will set you on the right path. Reaching each milestone in itself is an achievement but success is attained only when we have crossed every milestone along the way. It is therefore imperative that while we must seek success as our ultimate goal, we must aim to first achieve every milestone that we have marked out along the way.

If we just look at our own life, we would observer that it is interspersed with an amazing array of experiences. While not all of these experiences would be too our liking, we would on hindsight also realize that many of those unpleasant experiences were the fountain of great learning and often a painful test of our fragile nerves. At this juncture if we reexamined our own life, it would also dawn on us that the most bitter experiences were those when we passionately aimed for success but came a cropper. The hurt was not just failing but the injury to our ego and our inability to accept that we could go wrong. On the other hand if we focused on doing our best, achieving the intermediate tasks and steadily progressing towards our ultimate goal we would be realistic when we start slipping up. This would enable us to refocus on our limitations, seek help if need and try again to get back on track.

Occasionally we are confused as to what is achievement. Take an example of a person participating in a marathon race. If he/ she has practiced for the event and has a realistic target for himself/ herself then meeting that target is an achievement. Exceeding that target is success. Assume that you have simple target of just completing the marathon irrespective of the timing. If you have managed to go ¾ of the way and then given up, you may view it as a failure. However if you factor in some extraneous factors like excessive heat, a sudden bout of illness prior to the race, some unexpected news that caused stress etc. you will still consider your timing an achievement. You can even look at it as a roaring success if you achieved what you never thought you would when you started the race.

The subtle message is that every achievement is a success provided we can orient ourselves to see our achievements in the right perspective.

Remember: “The greatest achievement of the human spirit is to live up to one’s opportunities and make the most of one’s resources.” Vauvenargues, Marquis de

Try these:

  1. Assume your sibling/ spouse is a great fan of a celebrity and they would be thrilled to bits if you can somehow get them an audience with that celebrity. Work out how you will attempt to make this a reality? What will be your major achievement and what will determine that you were successful?
  2. What is the one quality that people say you need to add to your repertoire to multiply your effectiveness. How will you work out a plan to acquire this critical competency in the next 6 months?

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