TED Conversations

George C Carroll III

Campus College Chair, University of Phoenix Hawaii Campus


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How do you define success?

There are a number of success theories out there (be this, be that, do this, do that).

How do YOU define success?


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    Aug 14 2013: How I define success has more to do with how I don't define it, which is as the opposite of failure. Success, in other words, has far less to do with results, accomplishments, or achievements, than I think most people realize. To me, success is intimately associated with effort, intention, and lack of attachment, which are ways of interpreting success as a journey and not a destination, which puts the emphasis on the way of success, not the point of success.

    Theodore Roosevelt puts it better: "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

    I think success is in the daring.
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      Aug 14 2013: I had been thinking of putting it in words but was not able to! Kind of echos my views. Thank you Daniel for this!
    • Sep 1 2013: To strive for success in the face of mediocrity is a noble pursuit, but it's a far greater individual who settles for common utility in a world of notoriety.
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        Sep 4 2013: You would like the 'heroic ideal' in David Foster Wallace's unfinished novel 'The Pale King.'
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          Sep 4 2013: Wasn't the Pale King an exploration of boredom more than it was a piece elevating common utility?
        • Sep 6 2013: Daniel - I took a quick look at Mr. Wallace's biography. It's chilling to think his principles led to suicide. It's unfortunate he lacked flexibility.

          I found the concept of "New Sincerity" an interesting doctrine. From what I read...I appreciate the desire to reintroduce sober thought, but I feel current cynical dogma requires more than a manifesto of desires.

          That said...I'm always open to reading other points of view... so if I get a chance I'll read "Pale King" Thanks for the heads up.
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        Sep 6 2013: Gord G., I don't know that it can be said "his principles led to suicide." If he was suffering from a mental disorder (severe depression) it may have been that it was a neurological condition and not a philosophical one which led to his untimely demise.

        Fritzie, it was an exploration of the unacknowledged heroic qualities that go into battling faceless dragons like boredom!
        • Sep 6 2013: True Daniel. There are many biopsychosocial factors that can cause major depressive disorder. My response could have been phrased differently.
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        Sep 9 2013: I'm making 'biopsychosocial' my word of the day.

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