Define success. Success depends on the scope of measurement. Let me explain.
Depending on your purview, you can imagine how different the perception of such success can be. A person who beats the 100-meter sprint world record with the world watching from the proverbial bleachers will be considered an unequivocal success. But is that person still considered a success when, because of his dogged determination to be that fast, for many years had to leave his family behind and leave his children without an omnipresent father figure in the most formative stages of their life?
I love this country (the U.S.) because of its diverse people and leadership on the world stage, but that admiration also comes with great responsibility. The responsibility to reinvent ourselves, for it is unlikely – and I might add somewhat undesirable – for another nation to, anytime soon.
So, here is some of the evidence I use not to be too full of ourselves and to reinvent the foundational principles for our success.
- The extreme poverty rate in the U.S. is 15.8%, along with a quarter of all children not knowing where their next meal will come from, causing compounding learning disabilities in a large and growing part of our future generations. Thus severely hampering our renewable contribution to our societal strengthening and sovereignty.
- 70% of Americans are on prescription drugs, the length of their life (and their offspring) propped up by, and dependent on, medicine. Many suffer from chronic depression—the source of a multi-generational weakening of humanity and severely depleting the zest for self-improvement.
- The U.S. is the second most obese country in the world, much of its population enslaved to apathetic consumerism that knows no end, in complete ignorance of personal responsibility and solidarity upon which the evolution of humanity depends. Individual ignorance is the main reason our medical systems will buckle under its weight, no matter what safety net we come up with if we don’t build systems to force us instead to take our responsibilities seriously.
- Our performance is primarily determined by a financial sector eleven times the size of production. A dangerous predicament considering finance is non-renewable without production. We have become a feeble hydrocephalous of finance, with much of our purported growth coming from investing in itself.
So, my point is that the medals we win in the horse race on the global economic stage come at a significant price to our renewability and integrity. You may see us win that race for many years to come, and you may remain envious of it. But I am sure you (and I) are not jealous of the severe societal erosion (some listed above) it has caused on our soil.
We must measure success by the strength of our renewal rather than by how many rich people we bury in the cemetery. We must broaden the scope of success to the quality and integrity of human evolution. A new and more meaningful measuring stick of success.
We are not super-humans, except that we have freed ourselves enough to be allowed and able to reinvent ourselves. We have severely eroded our underpinnings of success with the same enthusiasm.