GRE Issue Essay 198

“Society’s external rewards are no measure of true success. True success can be measured only in relation to the goals one sets for oneself.”

Most people start planning their future from their school days. They set an aim in life and struggle hard to achieve that aim. Such people can be considered to be successful if they are able to even get close to the goals that they had set for themselves. Society’s external rewards probably have no bearing on either their happiness or their definition of success. Therefore, success can be measured only on a personal level and it is further dependent on the goals that one has set for oneself.

Society may choose to give due recognition to people who have excelled in their respective fields, but this does not mean that people who are not appreciated by the society have not been successful in their ventures. A new motion picture’s director may have directed a film that falls in the category of off-beat cinema. He may have experimented with addressing certain controversial issues in his movie. Therefore, his movie may bomb at the box-office and he may not win any popular movie awards. However, the director may consider himself successful because he would have succeeded in conveying a message to the masses though the medium of his movie. Additionally, it is likely that his movie earns good critical reviews and probably that is what matters the most to the director. Moreover, the young director may be noticed and be appointed for directing movies under certain prestigious banners and probably this was the goal that the director had set for himself. Therefore, despite directing a film that neither earned any awards nor raked in high profits, the director may consider himself as successful because he succeeded in achieving the aim that he had set for himself. This aim might be quite different from what society has deemed necessary for a director’s success. Therefore, if the director is happy and satisfied with his work and he feels that he has attained his goal, then that is success for him.

There are thousands of scientists and researchers who have spent years in their research related work. All of them cannot be awarded the Nobel Prize. Does this mean that all these scientists have been unsuccessful in their endeavors? The research and development departments of a number of business establishments succeed in developing new products based on the latest technology. If no one outside the company knows about their contributions, does it imply that these researchers are not successful? Success is largely attributed to personal satisfaction which comes as a result of attaining one’s goals.

There may be people who are not satisfied with whatever they have achieved. This is because they may have set a very high goal for themselves. An area sales manager of a company may feel that he has not succeeded in his career unless he becomes the General Manager (sales) of the company. On the other hand, consider a person who comes from a humble background. If he succeeds in getting a job that improves the standard of living for his family, then he is truly successful even if the society does not term that particular job as a measure of success in one’s career. He may be quite low in the company’s hierarchy, but if his aim was to bring about a radical change in the living conditions of his family, then he would consider himself to have attained success.

In view of the above, it can be seen that more than the standards set by society or the rewards given by society, it is the individual goals set by people that are a measure of the success achieved by them. Success can be measured by gauging the level from where you started and your present position with respect to the goal that you have set for yourself. Society’s rewards do little to measure the success attained by individuals.