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Windows to Success... Take a peek if you dare!

Success comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. Most often, success is measured in $ and is vastly business oriented. I, personally, have never found money to be a means to success, nor an accurate measure of success. My reasoning is because it is purely quantitative and lacks the qualitative component to make it viable. There are other measures of success that diminish the singular quality of wealth. Things like happiness, freedom, and control. Now some might say that those are all qualitative and lack the quantitative component and to an extent, they would be right. This is because people compare themselves with other people. They measure success based on others. In this, they become limited and essentially achieve no success at all because they lose their freedom. They are bound to the worry that another might get ahead of them and so they strive to produce more. In this production they essentially waste time out of their limited life which they will never get back and still "end the game" with less then those who have "more" life left. Does this make sense?

So to measure success, we must take into account that our real success is based in the realms that are difficult to measure and that aren't based on a comparison with others. So long as we learn something from this project, we carry away from this course something of immense wealth that is worth far more then numbers can count. Simply knowing that we are supplying others with our knowledge and points of view from as many facts and references as are needed will be sufficiently successful.

Many people believe that happiness is derived from the things that can be purchased, but this is a common misconception. The things we are able to obtain through quantitative measures provide pleasure, but pleasure only lasts as long as our interest holds. Once our interest disolves, we are on to the next item on the list in a never ending cycle to achieve... what? Contentment. Being content with yourself and your situation increases the happiness in your life 10 fold because you are no longer bogged down by the fear associated with losing your place in the "human race".

This is all well and good, but contentment is boring. Life suddenly has little meaning. This is why we further take our contentment with our situation and branch out toward helping others achieve contentment as well. Things like dontating to those in need helps them to not worry about "losing their place" and keeps them sustained.

But in order to help others, we have to help ourselves first right? And to do so we strive to make lots of money right? Well there is nothing wrong with making money so long as we dont use it toward our measure of success. Then the tool works for us rather then the other way around. So, if we help others first and then achieve our contentment, everything else falls in line to help us achieve happiness and success.

Therefore, success is not based on a quantitative measure, but more of a qualitative measure. One that is almost abstract and is very individualized. If we can help the individuals across the globe achieve contentment through our site by finding the proper information easily and enjoyably while learning something in the process, then I feel we've succeeded.

Comments

Reading your entry made me feel really good about doing this project. I've been so focused on learning new things, I've kind of lost sight of the fact that we have the potential of creating a valuable community resource. And that's really exciting!

I also appreciate your views on money- and material-based notions of success. In our celebrity-obsessed society, it's painfully evident that neither money nor fame guarantee happiness. To the contrary, they often cause great stress. I think most people, rich or not, feel happy and successful when they believe they are doing something meaningful. I have learned that meaningful work is the key to my own happiness. My current job provides a large dose of "contentment:" a reliable source of income, good benefits, a decent salary. But it's not very intellectually challenging nor is it meaningful to me. Despite giving me material measures of "contentment," I'm sad that I'm doing something that makes a difference. To me, that means helping solve significant problems like poverty or environmental degradation. That's why I'm so grateful to be in this class: not only am I learning marketable skills but I can contribute something valuable to my community.

I was so taken aback by your statement that contentment is boring.Life loses its meaning. I would look at contentment as being able to look at my family and know everyone is ok and healthy. But you are really saying contentment breeds contentment, and could end up breeding that contentment across the globe...what a wonderful idea.

Your post was quite interesting. A big lesson that I've had to learn in life is that I'm a pretty fickle person who is almost never content for long. Being content with that knowledge about myself has taken time and a release of control - an attempt at realizing that the future is never certain, life happens, and things generally work out okay in the long run. Some people are sure about what they "want to be" or have a clear life direction - but others of us have difficulty because our interests lie in so many spheres. Happily, life provides opportunities for many different types of experiences, and while a more pedestrian life may be more predictable, a variety of experiences leads to a rich life tapestry.