“Try not to become a man of success, rather than becoming a man of value.”
What does this quote really mean? What’s the difference between success and value?
Success is external, Value is internal:
When you see someone, who is “successful,” you see their image. You see their hazelnut shoes step out of a jet-black convertible. You see a shiny gold watch. You see a perfectly lined haircut, a fitted blazer, a beautiful blonde on their arm. You see them reach for their wallet to pay for the whole table’s dinner. You hear them talk about their accomplishments, awards, experiences and you drool. To you, they have value because that’s what got them to this point of “success” in the first place.
The man that pursues “success,” in my interpretation, the focal point is about himself, about how he needs to be successful. It’s not about solving a problem, it’s not about building sustainability, it’s not about nurturing relationships, it’s all about how “you” can help “me.”
This kind of person thinks that the pie is limited. They believe that helping someone else move forward means that they have slow down for themselves. If you win, that means I must lose. This kind of person will try to hoard the attention, the spotlight, try to take all the credit and money not the kind of person you’d want to work with or work for.
Value is very different.
Value could show up in a black turtleneck with fuzz from the dryer stuck to one sleeve. Value might have to chain his or her bike up to a lamp post down the street and then walk over to the meeting. Value might not be able to pay for the meal. Value might have way less experience and have close to no credentials but might also solve the exact problem you’re facing. And in that moment, you don’t really care whether that person has a gold watch or a fat wallet or a flashy sports car. They solve your problem and that’s exactly what you’re looking for. And depending on the size of the problem and how badly you need it fixed, you may find yourself saying, “If you can provide value here and help us, in exchange we will give you a huge salary, a new watch, a jet-black sports car, and by the way, I have a girl I would like you to meet.”
A man of value becomes a benefactor to those around them; people’s lives are improved because of this man’s presence. The focus is about being of service to humanity or the world around him. This is the kind of person that revolutionizes industries, makes breakthroughs that benefit us all, and advance society as a whole these people tend to be “successful.”
If you are a man of success, if that’s what you focus on, you’re out of the game. You’ve already lost. You are now reliant upon your exterior—something that doesn’t last forever—to represent your value.
However, if you are a man of value, if you keep your focus on what you can provide and mastery over your skill sets, you are an “A” team player. You are in demand. You are ahead of the curve and you know your worth.
The duality here is that by focusing on Value, you become a man of Success. And if you focus and attach to the idea of success, you will begin to lose your value.