You can say what you want about Bill Gates, but it would be hard to argue that he hasn’t experienced success. He’s one of the wealthiest people on earth, having co-founded one of the world’s most valuable companies. He now spends his time giving away all of that money to causes like eradicating polio. His is not a bad resume.
A lot of that accomplishment comes from a simple lesson Bill Gates learned early on in his life. I think it’s worth looking at, especially since it’s something many people take a lifetime to learn, if they ever do at all.
Most of us assume that it is, which means everything that isn’t success must be failure. But the opposite of success isn’t failure. Or, it doesn’t have to be. And, that’s a distinction that can make all the difference. Unfortunately, it’s one that many people never learn to make.
Most people measure success by whatever the equivalent is in their job of shooting an arrow and hitting the center of the target. There’s very little margin for error: you either hit it or you didn’t. If that’s the case, everything else is a failure. That belief is often what makes us afraid to try, because success is narrowly defined as only the best possible outcome.
In most cases, though, success is incremental. You try something and it works, you take a step forward. You try something else, and it doesn’t work, so you learn something and look for more things like the first attempt. Eventually, you get to wherever you were headed.
This brings up another reason success isn’t binary: in many cases, it’s impossible to understand the best possible outcome. In fact, there are a lot of things that don’t qualify as a “success,” but shouldn’t be defined