My friend George died penniless in a nursing home. He had dedicated his entire life as a pastor for several small churches. He touched tens of thousands of lives along the way. My friend George was a success.
My father left my mother when I was four years old. She worked every day of her life, spent everything on me, and kept very little for herself until she herself passed at 92. My mother was a success.
Steve Jobs found a friend working in a garage. His friend built the first Apple computer. Together they created a revolution and changed the lives of Billions. Steve and his friend were a success.
Many of us became successes in our lives and never even realized it, because we mistakenly associated vast sums of money and material possessions with success. This is dead wrong, because success is never an end result, you know. Success is a lifestyle that builds upon itself, and requires constant nourishment in order to flourish.
Harland was six years old when his father died. As the eldest son, it was his responsibility to take care of his younger brother and sister. In order to fulfill his father’s wishes, starting at the age of 10, he held down multiple jobs as a farmer, a railroad fireman, an insurance salesman and a street car conductor. In my way of thinking, Harland was a success for that.
In 1930, at the onset of the Great Depression, Harland ran a service station in Kentucky. Much of his time and his money went to feeding those less fortunate. Harland was a success for that.
Within five years, Harland opened a small restaurant across the street from the gasoline station and the fried chicken he cooked became so popular, the governor of Kentucky named him a Kentucky Colonel. Harland was a success for that.
At the age of seventy-four, Harland sold his interests in Kentucky Fried Chicken for $2 Million. Harland was a success many times in his life, and the money he earned for his hard work was yet another success.
Success is repetitive. It’s not one event, but a series of smaller events that are compounded in the same way interest is compounded in an investment. Even if the rate of interest remains static, the amount of interest earned grows exponentially.
Look at the chart to the left. See how the ‘Value’ curve increases at a faster and faster rate over the years 1-19? If $1 is invested for 20 years at 10% annual interest, $1 becomes $5.56, simply because interest is not only earned on the initial investment, interest is earned on interest throughout the life of the investment.
So you see, success is not one single event, but a series of actions that build upon themselves over a long period of time.
So the next time you feel like you have failed, remember this little graph. We are all members of the human experience, and each and every one of us is a success in progress. Money is nice, but money is not success.