From Great to Lasting
When we first started sharing these principles during the development of Success Built to Last, some people feared—and others hoped—we would impose on them celebrity personalities as role models for success, or at the other extreme, we would expect you to become selfless and perfect, whatever that means. That may be a nice aspiration, but this book is not about worshiping the accomplishments of inaccessible, larger-than-life overachievers. That simply doesn’t work. Your enduring success is not about following anybody else’s roadmap, goals, or achievements. It must be constructed on a foundation of very personal choices that only you can make. None of the people you will meet in the coming pages are being offered as folks you ought to imitate. Take them or leave them, our pledge is to share with you some practices that Builders we met had in common and that work for them. What is more important is that we hope to stimulate a probing dialog about your lasting success and creating a life that matters (to you).
In the process, you may discover you are currently tracking some definition of success never explicitly challenged. It would be a shame for this to remain the unconscious default of your life. Until you compare what really matters to you with what may haunt you about the popular notion of success, your existing concept of both could remain the invisible tyrant you unknowingly resent.
If any of this feels uncomfortable at some point, it could be because of an unexplored gap between what deeply matters to you and what you think the world expects of you. When meaning and success sit together side-by-side out there fully illuminated for your consideration, you suddenly are in a stronger position to demand an answer to the question, “Why am I not doing what matters to me right now?”
It’s all too easy to dismiss this line of inquiry. Yet if there was one thing we saw that Builders hold to be true, this would be it: Although many things in life and work are temporary, and nothing seems to last, Builders believe that meaning actually does last—forever. They said that what they do (or do not do) while they are here matters. They feel that it might even matter beyond their lifetime.
Let’s see what else you have in common with people who have success built to last.