Many persons complain about their misfortunes and actually try to justify their need for begging because of some unfortunate circumstances they have experienced in life.
A few years ago while waiting at a stop light in New Kingston Jamaica, a Windscreen Wiper came to my window and asked me for $20 to wipe my window. I actually responded by saying some other time my dear, to which his response was “that’s okay, I already made my quota for the day”! Surprised at his comment I replied “quota?”
The windscreen wiper then proceeded to tell me that he had a quota of approximately four thousand dollars $4000 per day. I actually told him that he made more money that me, a trained teacher at the time, before driving off when the lights changed to green. I was actually in utter disbelief at what the man had said until I decided I was actually going to see if his target was realistic.
We all desire success one way or the other. Success is actually a target that most persons would like to achieve. Success is however not easily measured as the definition of success may vary from person to person. The commonality between these individuals though is that they all see success as a way to move forward, to experience some sort of growth whether financial/economical, career- wise, personal, spiritual or in business.
Success is usually measured by the amount of “things” you collect whether it be awards, certification, higher job titles, money or property; it is also measured by your social class, status, popularity, power and relationships built.
The real determinant of success though, depends on individual or group norms, culture, individual desires, the value of your collectible – your “thing”, as well as the thoughts and opinions of others.
For example an individual may define success as being able to provide the basics for his family while he gets to spend time with them. Another individual may define success by the value of his wealth or having the ability to climb the “social or corporate ladder”. However it is important to note that having an increase in wealth does not guarantee an automatic promotion up the “social ladder” as there are many existing stereotypes and discriminatory factors that can affect one’s acceptance within a group.
For example, that windscreen wiper mentioned above would not be generally seen as an entrepreneur which he is in his own right. Neither is he seen as a skilled individual because after all, he is just a basic “unskilled laborer”, a beggar, harassing motorists for a measly $20 dollar in exchange for wiping one’s windscreen. He has no title, no stable employment or career, no recognition, no status within his country.
What many persons do not realize is that we all have different definitions for the word success. It is unfortunate that in Jamaica success is usually seen on the physical man in terms of how he dresses himself, in the color of his skin, the type of car he drives and the size and type of structure wherein he resides.
Persons do not readily appreciate their own genuine achievement or effort, and there is a lot of pressure to excel at standardized tests that are seen as the means to an improved financial standing and ultimate success.
Other individuals, in particular persons with disabilities, often use their deficiency as justification for waiting on handouts instead of moving towards their dreams or goals. It is also quite unfortunate that many disabled individuals do not visualize themselves as someone worthy of excellence, worthy of love and acceptance, worthy of holding a traditional job, worthy of success. If only they knew that the greatest tool that is given by God to enable excellence is one’s brain, then I am quite sure that instead of having a pity party and spending time begging that they could use their voice as a “crafting tool” for excellence, which is a platform for success.
After performing the calculations for the income of the windscreen wiper mentioned in the first paragraph, I concluded that if his words were true then in my opinion the windscreen wiper was achieving more financial success than I – a trained teacher !
After reflecting on my conversation, I changed my opinion of who a windscreen wiper was. I had no statistical evidence to make the assumption that he was homeless or working for extortioners. All I could now see was a business man trying to make a profit for his business. The man was an entrepreneur who spent less than I on work clothes and transportation. He had less overheads than the normal small business owner, he had customers who came to him so he had no need to focus on marketing, and could easily predict the average amount of cars that he could wipe at the stop light. Most of all he did not pay any taxes!
This individual also sets his daily quota which meant he had a business plan which was his road map to being successful. Quite impressive !
To top it off I was in total shock when I saw the financial estimates I had done. The figures on paper said it all. If that windscreen wiper wiped three (3) cars every 5 minutes for 8 hours per day, that would result in the following:
36 customers per hour
288 customers per 8 hour day
A Total of $5760 dollars earned per day tax free!
I therefore concluded that success was “in the eyes of the beholder” and changed my outlook/opinion on persons including that windscreen wiper. Although that situation happened several years ago the lessons learnt are still applicable today. Do not judge a book by the cover. Success vary according to individual desires and we all have an opportunity to earn a living, meet our goals and achieve whatever success were are seeking to attain.
I now constantly remind myself of the scriptures written below, and the fact that quite often most of us do not achieve success because we fail to think outside the box, – beyond our physical appearance, disabilities or persons perception of us.
I am also encouraged that persons like Nick Vujicic shown in the video link below talking about living the life God has given us regardless of your limitations, has inspired many to find everything they need in Jesus Christ, who will provide and enable ultimate success.
Philippians 4:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me.
Jeremiah 29:11 Good News Translation (GNT)
11 I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.[a]