June 6 – Measuring success by looking at the path

“Success is not measured by what a person accomplishes, but by the opposition they have encountered, and the courage with which they have maintained the struggle against overwhelming offs.” (Oriston Swett Marden)

Yesterday’s quote was about the pursuit of happiness, and today’s is about measuring success by measuring the road taken to get there. In today’s quote the notion that it isn’t about the end that matters, but what it took me to get there.

Part of my job over the years has involved the recruiting, hiring and mentoring of college graduates. I have seen hundreds who have come along in the company. Some come in with impressive collegiate resumes amassed at prestigious institutions. Others come in with good grades at Universities that are good, but not among the elite. All of them come in having no idea what it really means to work in a large, corporate culture. For some that learning curve is quite steep, while for others it is more manageable.

One thing I have noticed is that those recent graduates who come to us that had to overcome difficulties to earn their degree, usually have an easier time climbing the learning curve. Young graduates who have had to have 30+ hour a week jobs just to stay in school, or who have endured other setbacks along the way have learned to climb the hill. They have had to overcome odds that some would see as overwhelming. With those experiences under their belts, it is a little easier for them to adapt to the pace at work, and to climb that steep learning curve.

I am not saying that only those who had difficulties during their college years will succeed. I have seen many who had a much easier time in school who also succeed well at work. What I am saying is that there is great value to the struggle. The accomplishment of receiving the degree is the same, but the struggle to get there gives some a set of experiences that will serve them well.

When I think about happiness, I think that the pursuit is a large part of the formula. And, I think that when that pursuit has many twists, turns and road blocks, the happiness is that much sweeter.

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