Success Vs Achievement
-The Great Debate-
It’s fairly easy for people to confuse success and achievement, or rather to consider them to be the same thing. If you achieve something, you have succeeded; and if you feel successful it means you have a laundry list of things you’ve achieved or acquired to show for it. Right?
Achievement and success are two, entirely different things. In fact, in many instances, you could arguably have one without the other.
Tangible Versus Intangible
The first difference between achievement and success is the tangible versus the intangible.
When a person has an achievement, it’s something very tangible. It’s a thing they can point to and say “hey, look at what I did.” By contrast, success is more a state of mind. It’s intangible – more a thought or a feeling, of having done something worth while or with value.
This very philosophical difference between achievement and success can sometimes entangle people in misunderstanding for years; only to wake up one day and realize that the two are separate, and sometimes success has not truly been attained in spite of a laundry list of achievements.
What Versus Why
The next very real, and also philosophical, delineation between achievement and success is in the ‘what’ versus the ‘why.’
When someone wants to achieve something, it’s always a what. I want to achieve a nice car. I want to achieve a promotion at my job. They are always very specific, as we said tangible, things – making the motivation behind them still very material. ‘WHAT did you want?’ is the question asked after an achievement has been made.
But when someone is in it to succeed, it isn’t a matter of what they want, rather why they want it.
Why Getting the ‘What’ In Sight of the ‘Why’ Wins
To be clear: ‘why’ – or success – does not always win. There are people in this world who never truly know success, in spite of all the tangible achievements and wealth in the world. They may know it, they may not – but all the ‘what’s in the world mean nothing if there is no deeper reason for having done it all.
And vice versa: having this feeling of success, of knowing ‘why’ you work towards the goals you work towards means absolutely nothing if you cannot produce a single, tangible thing to show for it.
This is why getting the ‘what’ – the achievement – in sight of the ‘why’ – the success – wins. It’s that ability to achieve great things, while at the same time keeping focus on why you are doing any of it, that makes a person a great leader, and a well-rounded individual.
So while it may not be a true debate, or disagreement, between success and achievement (after all, how can it be a debate if you want the two to work together, in harmony?); it certainly is important to understand the distinction between the two for the sake of having a balanced philosophy of life and happiness.