Success is not measured by the heights one attains, but by the obstacles one overcomes in its attainment.

Success is not measured by the heights one attains, but by the obstacles one overcomes in its attainment. – Booker T. Washington

What obstacles have you overcome lately?

What obstacles have you overcome lately?

What does that mean?
This quote is also frequently seen as “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

This quote is about how one measures success. It specifically states that the success isn’t in the attainment of a high position. Some people are born closer to the top, right?

This quote is about overcoming obstacles. That’s why people cheer when the Special Olympics are on. The athletes aren’t likely to set a new world record, they’re not going to attain great heights.

But what they are doing is overcoming tremendous obstacles. And that is what success is all about. Becoming what you can be, who you need to be, to overcome the obstacles in your life.

Why is learning to overcome obstacles important?  
Let’s start with gravity. When you were an infant, it was the ruler of your world. You couldn’t lift your head, and it was an effort to lift your arms and legs. Then you learned go get up on all fours, crawl, walk, and eventually, run.

It would have been nice to continue to resist gravity and learn to fly, and we can do that, but we must rely on machines to do the work. But at each step along the way, we were overcoming obstacles. For most adults, walking isn’t a big deal, but when a baby does it, the whole room applauds.

Doesn’t that explain the quote in as simple and straightforward a manner as is possible? As it should be in all of life, the size of the obstacle is the measure of success, not the achievement. However, we don’t always remember to celebrate the successes of others after their great struggles.

Where can I apply this in my life?
If you were born with the proverbial silver spoon in your mouth, you might be able to attain a position of great height with very little effort. Others may have started in a tougher situation and consider themselves a great success because they made it to the level of manager.

That doesn’t diminish the achievement of CEO of a great company, but the other person probably had a greater struggle, right? Their victory, their effort, their ability to overcome great obstacles made their success every bit as sweet, right?

While everyone is fighting a tough battle, for some it is a greater struggle than for others. We all know people who are working against great obstacles. Have we helped them, either in their work, or in their celebration of success?

While there is a great deal of satisfaction in surmounting an obstacle, it is usually more enjoyable if you can celebrate with your friends. Do you know anyone in this situation? Can you help them celebrate their victory? Would that be appropriate?

Some people like surprise parties, others turn on their heel and walk out when they are announced. If you’re going to help someone celebrate, I hope you know them well enough to be able to judge their reaction. Or perhaps you can just pat them on the back and toast with them, to their success.

Whatever is appropriate, celebrate their victories. And celebrate your own. For many in the US, it’s the end of the school year. Congratulations on surviving another year, and learning something (even if it was that failure to study leads to failures of other kinds).

What else do you have to celebrate this week? This month? Have you managed to stay on your diet, or at least not gain all the weight back? Have you managed to stay from a bad habit, or at least cut back on it? There are lots of things to celebrate, just as there are lots of obstacles to overcome.

Take a moment and relive a few of your victories, the ones that really mean a lot to you. Odds are that they are the ones celebrating what you attained, but they are the ones celebrating the obstacles you overcame. And in some cases, you get lucky and you get both at the same time.

Now take a moment and consider the people our planet, and our cultures, consider to be great, and who are celebrated. How many are celebrated because of the heights they attained, and how many are celebrated because of the obstacles they overcame along their way?

In every case of which I can recall where they are celebrated for the heights they attained, they are also celebrated for the obstacles which they faced and overcame, as well as who they became along the way.

And sometimes the greatest obstacles are not in front of us, but within us.

From: Twitter, @FBNStossel
confirmed at :
Photo by zeitblohm


About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in accomplishment, happiness, improve, obstacles, respect, success and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Success is not measured by the heights one attains, but by the obstacles one overcomes in its attainment.

  1. tivrfoa says:

    Nice post. And of course height is relative. In many cases you don’t need to become an CEO to achieve great high. Even have a stable job is a great achievement nowadays. =)

    • philosiblog says:

      Absolutely true, at least for most of us. However, for those who were born independently wealthy, no mere job will suffice. It must be a worthy job. They must find an obstacle to overcome as well. 8)

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