Can someone please rate my analysis of an issue article? This is my 2nd time to write an essay.
Many thanks in advance!
[i]6. “There is only one definition of success — to be able to spend your life in your own way.” To
what extent do you agree or disagree with this definition of success? Support your position by
using reasons and examples from your reading, your own experience, or your observation of
Explaining and defining the obvious has always been one of the most difficult tasks according to philosophers, and if you do not believe it just think of how they debated the concepts of time, space and existence itself. Success is no different; although a goal for almost every man, yet defining it is difficult and controversial. If I have to choose a definition for success, I would say it is the ability to spend your life in your own way. In this analysis, I will aim to explain why this is the preferred definition.
Firstly, The difficulty in defining success comes, partly, from it meaning too many different things to different people. Success for a religious person is spending a life time in serving god. This allows you to enter paradise which is the ultimate success to every human being. To my father, success was the ability to serve one’s own family, to raise them well, and to secure for them the best possible education. For an entrepreneur, success would probably mean owning the most “successful” business, which still needs definition. Is the most successful business the most profitable one? Or is it the one serving the community best? Or is it the most innovative one? Or is it the one with the highest market capitalization?
An obvious solution to this dilemma would be to define success as the ability to spend one’s life in his own way. Isn’t happiness the universal goal of man? If a man spends his life in his own way, doing what he defines as successful, this will result in him being happy, and since happiness is the goal of every man, therefore this person would have succeeded in life.
A counter-argument to the above could be that happiness is different from success. A person can be happy because they are content with their decisions or with the way their life evolved but this does not mean this person is successful. Take a typical grandmother in rural Egypt, my homeland. She would have no career, no money of her own and she would be living with a husband to whom she was married not because of love but because of an order from her father. While she is usually content with her life, she is certainly not successful in life.
In addition, there are people who are undeniably successful yet they do not seem very happy. Maradonna, for instance, is one of the most successful soccer players in history yet he doesn’t seem to lead a happy life. Picasso also was one of the greatest and most successful artists and it would seem from stories told about his life that he was not a happy man.
My answer to this would be: firstly, who could be less successful than a man who lived and died unhappily? Secondly, to the grandmother example, based on which value system was she “judged” unsuccessful?
This brings us to another important reason why success can only be defined as the ability to spend life in your own way; who should decide what success is and judge who is successful? It cannot be the society, otherwise geniuses like Newton or Einstein would have had to seek the society’s approval or “stamp” to “become” successful and the great men and women who were ahead of their era and their society will not be considered successful. We also cannot leave this decision to history for history is important for us, future generations, to learn but it is of no value to a person who is already “a history”. The judgment has to be either made by the person being “judged” or based on values but when it is based on values, they have to be one’s own values.
In conclusion, you are the only person able to judge whether you are successful or not and this judgment has to be based on your values and not anyone else’s value and on achieving your own goals in life and not any other pre-set goals. Success is the ability to spend your own life, in your own way.