The Irony of Success

Cedric Brown Avatar

So I’m finally finishing up my undergraduate career at this place we call Northwood!  It’s been an interesting here, for better and for worse.  Anyway, while suffering from a severe case of boredom in my humanities course, I started to daydream about being successful (somehow this relates to my course textbook which talks about innovation, yet my attention span is somewhere between minimal and non-existent).  I started thinking about all sorts of wealthy celebrities and what their specialties were.  Then I started to think about some lesser-known role models that walk among us everyday.  Then, it struck me that there’s actually a common parallel between the two.

Most of today’s successful people didn’t become successful by keeping their minds focused on it.  In fact, there’s one key similarity to all of those people who we consider “successful”:  Truly successful people do what they love to do!  From Bill Gates and Michael Dell, to Donald Henderson and Jim Reed (I’ll explain in a minute), the most successful people in this world got there by doing the things they love to do.  As we all know, Bill Gates dropped out of college to pursue his passion for technology.  Michael Dell started building computers from his dorm room at the University of Texas.  Jim Reed, an automotive marketing consultant, is widely known at colleges around the nation as a phenomenal speaker.  And just who the hell is Don Henderson? Well, he’s only the founding director of one of the most established and constantly growing male-mentoring groups in the D called the Brothers In Transition (which I’m proud to say I’m a product of)!  Whether today they enjoy the luxuries of the corner office, or the confines of the old office by the stage, each of these guys made it by doing the things they’re passionate about.

When I think of trying to be successful, I think of my days playing baseball in the D.  After playing three years for Pershing my teammates would be the first to tell you that my career there was an epic failure (and at times, a pure headache).  The way I see it, my attitude was never one that fostered success.  It seemed like every year I played I had a sense of entitlement to being great because of the hard work I put in.  I was playing for a college-ball scholarship instead of playing for the love of the game.  Because of this (and other factors) my talents never really materialized; I ended my high school career batting well under the Mendoza line (.200 for you non-baseball fans).  It wasn’t until my second time playing summer ball before I left for college that I actually started playing decently.  Why is this?  I think it’s because I played with nothing, but the game, to lose.  I stopped worrying about playing for a scholarship and winning the title because those things just didn’t mean that much to me anymore.  The end result: I had the most fun I had playing since I was in Georgia (and I even hit a few extra-base hits along the way).  If only I’d played like that in high school the A.D. wouldn’t have been asking me “when are you gonna get a hit, son?” every time he saw me in the hallways.

I’m sure we all want to be successful in some way, and there’s many ways to get there.  For me, the way to being successful is doing what you love to do.  Therefore, I encourage my readers to find their true passion (a topic for another blog?) and pursue it like a 50-year-old pervert at a college night club (just make sure you don’t get sued or locked-up in the process).

But hey, maybe keeping your mind focused on success works for you.  If it worked for Mark Zuckerburg and  Michael Jordan (who’s probably still rubbing-in his Hall of Fame induction in the face of some kid who isn’t even old enough to know who he is) maybe it works for you too.

So, what are your thoughts?

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