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The Column icon The Column: Issue 41

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The Column is a monthly feature that explores the world of creativity and aesthetics.

Be Successful
Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable

Success is important to all of us, and our sense of personal success goes a long way to making us happy and productive. The outcome of our success may be modest, influential, positive, or negative, and our experience of success is qualified by how well it marries with our "root purpose". That may be why what may be viewed of as success to one, is but hollow achievement to another...

The Path To Success

Success is an event that accomplishes its intended purpose. Our success may be personal, social, economic, skill based, or a combination of these. Success can be particular to an individual, or group. Although our success is often defined by society, family, friends, or work colleagues, our feeling of personal success is only lasting when we enjoy a sense of achievement in accomplishing a purpose that is important to us. This "root purpose" is different for each of us and is inextricably linked to our needs, values, and beliefs.

Defining various areas in our lives where we can achieve success might be useful, but there is usually only one area that for each of us is of primary importance, and taking time to reflect on what that area is can be immeasurably rewarding.

We might want to get paid well for what we love to do most, but few of us manage this. We generally muddle through having to compromise because of practical necessity. We might get lucky, or more likely feel luck seems to pass right by, but one thing's for sure, personal success is rarely realized purely through economic gain.

Make the time to ponder on what makes you happy. If you want to be rich, ask yourself why. Is being wealthy important because of how others view you? Will it give you more time to do the things you most want to? Would having every worldly good imaginable truly satisfy you? Working out what is at the heart of us and being aware of our root purpose provides perspective that makes living more meaningful and rewarding. The path to success is often unexpected.

My Success

After a lot of hard work the company I helped found recently launched a new software product. As the creative director I have overall responsibility for the graphics, website, and accompanying documentation. Some didn't have that much faith the product would be of interest to the buying public, but I kept pushing for its release as a distinct offering rather than launching it as part of a bundle of products as other members of the team had argued for. Within a week of its launch the software had significantly outsold one of our more established titles. I was told I should feel proud about this, especially as my judgement was proven right: "It's a great achievement".

Although I felt good about the sales, I didn't feel a great sense of success, and that's because what's most important to me has nothing to do with the development or sale of products, despite this being my commercial occupation. Products will come and go, no matter how useful they may be, or how many buy them. Despite working hard and using my skills to represent and promote commercial products as best as I can, my "root purpose" is to create new works that enrich and inspire.

It's not so important to me that people buy a product which in ten years time will be at the very least changed beyond recognition, or more probably discontinued. I want to leave something far more lasting. Something that continues to affect the hearts and minds of many as much in a thousand years as it does today. It is that desire that drives me, and that in which thus far I have had little success. My personal success, if any, is yet to come.

Your Success

Your success may be realized as a great parent, teacher, or gardener. Perhaps you paint, write, or design. Whatever is important to you will be entirely different than that which is significant to me. My belief however is that once we are clear as to our root purpose, whatever our area of interest and commitment, our creativity is the force that can unlock our potential. The way I see it, our success is governed by our ability to untap that often unrealised and powerful creative capacity.


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Authors background
Mike de Sousa is the Director of AbleStable®. Mike has been commissioned as an artist, music composer, photographer, print and web site designer, and author. Mike is also the Creative Director of 2BrightSparks, a software company.

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