Gene Pool Jackpot!



Wow… it seems like I have fallen off the face of the earth the past few days.  I have been slammed and wasn’t able to write and post this blog until today.

Most of you could care less, but I ended the last blog by saying that I would post the next entry on Tursday (if you wonder why I spelled Thursday this way you will need to read the last blog entry).

Not having it posted when I said I would really bugs me.  Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.

Oh well, enough of looking backward.  On with the topic at hand.

In the last blog entry I referred to a quote by the golfer Johnny Miller.


It’s not what you accomplish in life that’s important but what you’ve overcome.


The quote really struck me for some reason and I thought I would dig into it a little more.

The sad thing is, our society’s default to measuring success is typically by what you accomplish.  And usually accomplishment is measured in terms of money, power, position and prestige.

Here’s the problem with this definition of success.

If you won the gene pool jackpot and were born into the Bill Gates family… guess what?  By the definition above you are already a success before you are ever born.

No effort – just luck.

So what is the real definition of success?

I don’t want to sound snarky but… It depends.

It depends on the answer to a second question.  The follow-up question is, who’s asking?  Seriously.

Success to you may not be success to me.

I had a friend of mine use the football phrase “advancing the ball” as a metaphor for success.  He felt that his success was determined by how far he advanced the ball past where his father handed it off to him.

He came from humble beginnings and had succeeded in becoming fairly affluent and influential.  Although there were people with lots more money and position he was pretty successful because he advanced the ball quite a ways.

Of course, his measure for his son’s success is how much further he can advance the ball.

I think it’s an interesting theory but not sustainable.

Another interesting measure of success I ran across was in a film I saw in sociology class in High School.

It was a true story about a tribe on a South Pacific island.  The tradition was that when a man found a girl to marry a dowry had to be given to the girl’s father.

Typically it was in the form of cows.


Side Note: Yes girls… they were traded for cows.  Get over it.

If you are offended it’s because you have a different definition of success.  Stick with the story before you go postal on me.


On the island, the point of pride and success for women was the number of cows their suitor would pay for the privilege to marry them.

Typically, one or two cows were given for an average woman and three cows if you were exceptional.

The story in the film was about a shy girl who was average in appearance.  The father was expecting to get one, at best two cows for his daughter.

The dialog between the suitor and father was typically a negotiation.  Like any negotiation the father wants to get the most cows he can for his daughter and the suitor wanting to get a bargain.

But this story was a true love story.

The suitor in the story was the most eligible bachelor in the tribe.  He was the stud all the girls wanted.  The father was amazed he even considered wanting his average daughter.

When the suitor approached the father he did not wait for the father to ask for two cows.  The suitor immediately said, “I love your daughter and I will give you five cows.”

Five cows for a bride… a tribe first.  The girl was known throughout her life as the five cow bride.

Yep, success comes in all forms.

How do you define success?

See you Monday.

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