Success – Loosely defined

July 13, 2010

After spending a quarter century in the beauty industry, Tony realized his passion had shifted from what was happening on the outside of people to what was occuring on the inside.

Years of listening to other’s stories led him to seek a deeper spiritual understanding of how all things are connected. Tony’s own challenges and experiences give his writing a warmth and compassion, and are shared through the perspective of a “regular guy.”

I discovered Tony via Writers Rising, and have been hooked ever since. Tony has a simple way of presenting everyday lessons in beautiful prose. He has inspired many a posts on my blog and I hope you will find some food for thought reading Tony’s insights.

Tony is an active blogger and a published author and his work can be found on Artisan of the Human Spirit and his website.

Enjoy Tony’s words of wisdom and please contact me if you would like to be a guest writer on my blog.

When I was growing up in the eighties, it was the era of indulgence and opulence. Songs like: “I wanna be rich” filled the airways, and movies like “Wall Street” dangled the lure in front of us, we the young and impressionable, the importance of success.

This elusive and much sought after title of “successful” got me in its tractor beam and started to pull upon me. I wanted in. I wanted success, and I wanted to be important. Being important was the most important thing to me. I started a race that had no finish line.

Like a Christmas tree, I needed the decoration for the adoration and appreciation. A Christmas tree without the trimmings is simply another pine tree; lackluster and passed by. Success was shiny. Success was a show of abundance. Success was titles. Success had all the toys.

Success had a look. The hot clothes, the cool hair, and oh yes a tan.  The hours I spent in a tanning booth has since prompted my doctors to almost need to take a melon-baller to me to keep melanoma at bay. There was gel and mousse, cologne, and lots of jewelry. Prolific were six-pack abs, memberships to clubs and “recreational habits” that put our lives in toil, but a necessary evil for the acceptance in the right circle to be considered successful. Ones’ posse dictated ones’ importance.

As I grew and ventured further into my adulthood, I thought the superficial would wane, yet I still noticed my craving for the “things” that dictated my success. It became more important of how others felt about me. Chasing “status” was a contagious social disruption. This craving for success and importance became a behavioral disorder.

I had the fine cars. Fine cars breakdown too. They just cost more to fix, and ironically it appears funnier to people to have a guy fix the tire on a Jaguar on the side of the road. The most pride I had was in my first car: a 1973 Mercury Capri with AM/AM radio, Genessee Cream Ale bottle caps for knobs, and a 150 hamster power engine. Why? It was when I was given the ability to become mobile and see more of my world. I appreciated travel and not what I traveled in.

I had the cool cards named after precious metals: gold, platinum. The annual fees are crippling just to have something cool to flash that is most often kept in your wallet. Plus those I sought adoration from, have yet to offer to pay off my balances. Credit card debt is a difficult cancer to cure.

The nice clothes. Why do people pay exponentially more for a garment that has someone else’s name on the tag? We pay so much to own someone else’s identity. We feel we are lesser without another’s name pinned to us. Why are there no designers with regular guy names? “My suit? Oh yes, it is a Phil Jenkins!”

I have a nice home. They cost a lot, and they too have grass that needs mowed, water heaters that break down, and leak. I don’t wear my address like a medal pinned to my lapel.

I have traveled, been on television, written a book, and have had some really unique experiences in life, yet are they actual signs of success? Maybe to some. To me, my rewards come from perhaps more obscure origins–ones that you will probably not see in Forbes magazine.

My trophies and signs I have made it cannot be obtained in a mall, found in a catalog, or gained with the swipe of a credit card. My success is not governed by the rise and fall of the stock market’s heartbeat.

My plaques of achievement adorn my office walls. They are most treasured signs of success. One is a pink “Post-It” note written in pen by my son as he was learning to write.  It says, “Mom and DAD I Lve yow.” Another says, “Dear Daddy, You are the best Daddy in the whole world! Love Alexa” Better than any raise and not subject to market shifts.

I have objects made of clay, rubber, and plastic. Things made with sticks paste and glue. These artifacts, these treasures are little gestureand reminders that I was being thought of, that I held importance in the eyes of a child.

I have cards I have saved from my wife. They are cards from anniversaries, birthdays, and other events–cards stating that she still feels the same about me over time. I have a card from her supporting me when I was recovering from addiction. She held my hand through my battle. She was my general.

I have a stack of inexpensive coins. Coins that dictated the monthly steps I took in my war against addiction and personal angst that I have since been fortunate to wrangle. The journey is perpetual, but those “medals” remind me of the ongoing battle and of my comrades who have fallen; those who are my inspiration to keep on the right path.

If I look closely in the mirror, I notice not the vibrant youth I used to struggle to hold onto but now celebrate the kicks and scratches. The crow’s feet are not signs of aging, but the evidence of years of laughter. The creaks in my bones are reminders of the efforts I have put forth in getting where I am–a journey well worth the wear and tear.

My favorite form of transportation now is a good walk. No sunroof or convertible needed. It has as much room for as many passengers that wish to come along. The gas is cheap too.

I guess I realize now that success is relative. A vacation can be the moment I decide to simply breathe, relax, and enjoy where I am. Success is loving and being loved. As has been said before: “The most important things in life are not things.”

success2 300x266 Success – Loosely definedI may not be successful in the eyes of Madison Ave. However I feel that my wealth surpasses any of its most competitive investors as I have chosen to invest wisely. My market pays the best dividends. I guess I do find that success is relative as I find most of my assets in my relatives.

Often if we look around us, if we take a deep spiritual inventory, we can find the wealth of the universe currently surrounding us, available to us, and has nothing to do with what is on our W-2 form or a business card.

 Success – Loosely defined

dp seal trans 16x16 Success – Loosely definedCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia

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3 Responses to Success – Loosely defined

  1. BillNo Gravatar on July 16, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Lovely post Tony. Too many of us put importance into status & “things”. Some of the most successful people in history have been very sad people. They believed that if they could succeed at their career they’d find joy in their life…sadly this is far from the truth. As you note joy & success are the smallest things but they bring great depth to our life.

    Thanks as always my friend,



  2. mpmiNo Gravatar on July 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Well said Tony. I took a picture the other day and noticed the crows feet you were talking about. I love laughing and it is not until I read your post that it comes from years of laughing. I love that. Also you really captured the true meaning of life. Thank you.

  3. Myrna RNo Gravatar on July 18, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Beutifully stated! Truly even with “success” we can be poor in spirit. Glad you found your way to true richess.


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