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The Price Of Success

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Thursday February 23, 2012 )

What is the price of success? Be it online or any career? What is success anyway? I originally wrote this post after the tragic death of Australian born actor Heath Ledger, but the recent passing of other celebrities and an issue closer to home brought these questions to mind again recently and how they relate to the online world.

The reaction in Australia to Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson’s passing, as with Heath Ledger ‘s death and Steve Irwin’s tragic end some years ago, was amazing.

While MJ was well known for his eccentricities and had more than his fair share of controversy surrounding his life, as did Whitney Houston in regard to her latter life, Heath Ledger was young, seemed like a decent guy with his head screwed on straight, he was at the top of his trade, had a daughter he doted on, cash, possessions – he had everything to live for

He was incredibly successful… so say others. But I wondered if just prior to the tragedy occurring if he felt the same.

Who are we to judge who is successful in this life? I think that’s more a personal conclusion that should be made. I’ve met people whom I’ve envied to some degree only to find their lives to be hollow, lonely and empty; even when surrounded by riches and people.

They chased what they thought (or perhaps were told) would make them happy, achieved it after great sacrifice and then found it didn’t make them happy at all. Imagine how that must feel … it would be the worst sort of failure. I sometimes wonder what I’d do in that situation if it occurred.

In the words of the great philosopher, James Hetfield (Metallica)

“Careful what you wish,
You may regret it
Careful what you wish
You may just get it”
(King Nothing)

… and please; *nobody* write to me and tell me Mr. Hetfield isn’t a philosopher ;).

Even the fabled wisdom of King Solomon, the richest man in the world at the time, scorned success in the proverb that said, “all is vanity and striving after the wind”. As I grow older, I gain a greater appreciation of that insight.

I make special mention of this “success” thing as in the world of online business, there’s people we look up to; to aspire to emulate – some of them may be marketers or other site owners. These people can sell themselves to us as the epitome of success on the web. “Be like me and you could have all this” – a thriving business, cars, houses etc. etc. etc.

Remember that the world of business and even just general living, is much like the acting business. We present a facade we want people to see – it doesn’t represent the real person or how “successful” they may really feel.

The online superstars, the gurus are all humans like you and I; with lots of thorny bits and often, closets full of skeletons rattling away. The overnight success stories are sometimes many years in the making with many sacrifices, mistakes and pain along the way.

When setting your online goals, remember it can be a big commitment; think carefully about what would make you happy; what would make you feel like a success – don’t let anyone else tell you what that success should look like.

Another terribly tragic scenario is when people are working so hard to achieve their dreams, they ignore internal time bombs such as health issues and never live long enough to enjoy the fruits of their labors.

While sacrifice can be noble when walking the path to achieving a goal; if you don’t reach that goal, the journey may be wasted – so I think it’s really important to gain some satisfaction and a degree of enjoyment during the journey too as it could end at any time.

Feel successful on a daily basis!


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