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Defining Success

January 9, 2010 3 comments

 

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up and goes to bed and does everything he wants to in between” -Bob Dylan

 

     How do you measure success? By the amount of money in your bank account? the town you live in? the type of car you drive? the schools you attended? the places you’ve been? the title of your job? I would say no unequivocally to all of the above. Here’s a story of one person that I crossed paths with in my life that illustrates why.
     Dr. Slaughter was a highly “successful” orthopedic surgeon on staff. He would crank through patients in the OR as if it was some Michigan automotive factory back in it’s heydey. Time was money and money consumed his life more than he could ever bargain for. He thought very highly of himself for training at one of the premier surgery residency programs in the country (which he “name dropped” whenever the opportunity would (forcibly) arise) and made it well known that he lived in a million dollar house in a gated community. He also had two children and was already on trophy wife number two.
     However, Dr. Slaughter was a miserable pathetic man. He would yell at the nurses, curse out his residents, belittle the medical students, and always be complaining to the administration about something. He was an absolute nightmare to work with on so many levels. He was also having an affair with one of the scrub nurses which was widely known. His wife would call him on his cell phone and the conversations were always heated. His one son was in and out of drug rehab while the other was reportedly doing very well in prep school but their relationship was distant and strained.
     I just wanted to take a moment and personally thank Dr. Slaughter. If you ever happen to come across this post, thank you for being such an asshole and showing me everything NOT to do in my life. Thank you for proving that money truly does not bring happiness and success. Thank you for making me better realize that the quest for money and success can rob you blind of your soul and divert your attention from what REALLY matters in this world. Thank you Dr. Slaughter for giving my life more meaning.
     I will end with the following poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson that I read in the eighth grade. Though I would not classify Dr. Slaughter as “a gentleman from sole to crown”, I still think it is most befitting on how success can only be measured from within.

Richard Cory

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean-favoured and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good Morning!” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich, yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine — we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked and waited for the light,
And went without the meat and cursed the bread,
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet in his head.

-Edwin Arlington Robinson

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