Growing up, we chase the dream of being successful. From meeting people at our place of work to seeing celebrities on television, we can quickly identify those who are leading the pack. But how can WE get to that same level of recognition?
Digging deeper into this issue, one could say that success is the sum of what others say about you. Let me explain.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
The sad truth, we do. Even though I am aware that I should give everything in life an equal chance, I tend to not especially when someone else has already provided their point of view. When I was in college, I was fortunate to graduate after being involved in a number of leadership activities. I successfully led student organizations, participated in a variety of events, and maintained a respectable GPA all while working at full-time internships or part-time jobs. As I met new people at my university, people would talk about my success and ask me about how I managed my time or achieved what I had done.
Most of these people I have never met and upon meeting them, never told them about what I had been involved with. How did they know what I did or even how well I did? Over time, I found out other people had told them about what I had accomplished and that set the stage mentally for them when we met. I had inadvertently created a personal brand of being successful. This led to my thoughts and perspectives being considered on a deeper than others in particular group environments.
Imagine this. I am going to introduce you to one of my friends. I explained that this friend drinks a lot on the weekends, occasionally smokes, and consumes most of their time watching rerun television episodes. Though I sometimes am annoyed they may not pay me back when I lend them money, they are really a great person!
What would your initial thoughts, even without meeting my friend, be about this person? Would you give this person an unbiased opportunity to make a great first impression upon meeting them?
Some will. Most will not.
It happens all around us.
Jack Ma is probably one of the most recognizable individuals whom others have coined today as a success. For those who are not the most familiar with who Jack Ma is – Jack, or Ma Yun, is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group. According to Forbes in 2014, Jack Ma was the 18th richest person in the world with a net worth of $24.1 billion. In all respects, Jack is a very successful person.
Prior to being successful, Jack was probably what many would call a failure. In many of Jack’s interviews, speeches, and keynotes – Jack explains the trials that he had to persevere through to get to where he is today. From being the only employee to not pass initial training to be one of the inaugural employees of China KFC to the one person to not pass training in his class to becoming a police officer, Jack was on a string of bad luck. Jack did not accomplish anything where others would speak of his success.
In 1994, Jack first engaged with the Internet and began to really find his niche. As things started to fall in place for Jack, people began to recognize his efforts and perspectives on business and society. Validated by the successful of the Alibaba Group, he now addresses corporations, governments, universities, and has participated in an interview with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Though now Jack is recognized for all his everything he has achieved, there are countless of other people who are at the same financial level as Jack yet unrecognized for their perspective or accomplishments. Does this make them not as successful or is it because they have not captured the socially-approved clout of success?
Photo Credit: Time.com