I heard John Mayer in an interview once make a brilliant statement: “The problem with success,” he said, “is that success justifies every stupid decision we’ve ever made.”The irony of some success is it doesn’t always come as a result of good choices. It’s like that old saying that good judgement comes from experience, but most experience comes from bad judgement. We want to believe that success is a by-product of doing everything right. It’s just not.
Some success is the result of careful work and focused discipline. Some success comes as a fluke out of nowhere. Some success comes from the benevolence of others. And some success comes unjustly — to us, when it should have gone to someone else.
Some failure comes as a result of our mistakes. Some failure comes as a fluke, out of nowhere. Some failure comes from the mistakes of others. And some comes to us unjustly.
So since it’s clear that our success or failure is not necessarily the result of our choices, should we just give up? Grow cynical? Stop trying?
Of course not.
Because even though our choices might not affect our success in the way that we want, they always, without fail, 100% of the time, affect something else:
Our person. Our Being. Who we are becoming, how we are showing up.
Who we are is a result of our choices. Success or failure is connected, but only tangentially. And who you are decides how you’ll face that success or that failure — and in the end, that’s really the only thing that matters.