Success is measured in many ways, and it totally depends on your stated goal. That said, you have to state your goal in order to find success. In fact, success is 50% planning, 25% effort, and 25% persistence. That's good, because fundamentally I am, like most people, rather lazy at times. That's where the persistence part comes in. Persistence is the toughest part of the formula and is the catalyst to ignite the fuel of effort. It's the "will", you might say, to put in the effort, even when your body and heart are telling you to back off, take a rest, and go browse art on Deviantart, watch TV, eat some chocolate, drink a beer or hang out on reddit. Procrastination is rampant - and it's the failure of persistence that short-circuits many goals. Even I procrastinate. I'm likely doing it right now, by typing this up rather than that abstract that's due at the end of the day... However I've got a plan, and will put in the effort as soon as I'm done here.
Something that many people don't understand about life, is that life is like a small cafe serving table: It can only hold about four or five modest size plates of food. If you try to push any more plates on the table, one of the plates falls off the other side and makes a nice little mess on the floor. One of the plates on your serving table holds your family and marriage. Another holds your career. Yet another holds hobby A, and another holds your lesiure time. Sometimes you have to consciously pick up a plate from the table and put it on the shelf for some other day, to keep it from falling to the ground by mistake. Usually when that happens, it costs you, either in terms of broken relationships, lost career opportunities, or financially. Planning is the technique of keeping all your plates of life organized so that you can have a collection of rich life experiences. Only, you can't keep them all out at the same time.
So what is my metric for success in 2015? More importantly, what is yours? Most formulas are unwritten, but if you are a person who struggles with persistence, writing it down might be just the remedy to help you see and visualize your goals. Here's mine:
" In 2015 I will complete my Master's degree, prepare for a new job, help my son get settled into college life, and get the house repairs done while staying happily married."
1) In 2015, I will crack the mystery of the Myatis thrust fault and the Valentine's day earthquake sequence, and write it up into a dandy Master's thesis paper, which will be completed and ready by August 15th, so that I can defend it and earn my degree.
2) At the same time, I will finish the creation of a functional suite of calibration tools for calibrating electromechanical seismometers, and training materials for seismic networks in the states of the former Soviet Union.
3) I will start networking with my peers, and getting the word out that I'll be looking for a job in the fall.
4) I will lose the 18 pounds that I've gained since 2012 due to dropping my exercise plan. I've just repaired my P90X DVDs that had gotten scratched and unplayable, and the home gym is now cleaned up and ready. This ought to help with my energy level.
5) I need to fix the ceiling in the dining room, repair the upstairs shower, and re-roof the house above the dining room, and rebuild the little garage this summer. That will also be part of my exercise plan. - and I need to save a few thousand dollars to do it.
6) Get tough but encourage my son... I love him, but am distressed to see him not get excited about the possibilities that surround him - He's 18 now, and an adult - It's time he starts practicing being one by working on his independence. He's either going to have to succeed at college or else get a job and move out. That might be our toughest, saddest challenge yet but it's really in his court. I refuse to be a parent of a 20-something year old child. He'll either succeed in college or else transfer to the college of hard knocks.
Note that there's no mention of Tycho Aussie in the above statements. Tycho is a facet of myself that I truly do enjoy, and I do love the furry guy and the joy he brings. However I will be setting him aside for a little while in order to realize my above stated goal. It doesn't mean I won't be fursuiting: On the contrary, I plan on attending Anthrocon this year for my 50th birthday. It just means, it won't be a primary goal and I'll fit it in around the other stuff when I can. Tycho Aussie and the exploration of this wonderful hobby was a goal of 2012 & 2013, and wow - it opened up a colorful new world to me of new friendships, people, and characters. It's just that now, I need to put that plate on a shelf to make room and keep other plates from falling off the table. The Master's degree is a pretty big plate and it requires some intentional clearing of the table.
How is YOUR serving table looking? What are the plates that you think you want to keep from falling? Which ones will you intentionally put on the shelf to preserve the rest? Did you realize that you can eventually dust them off and put them back onto the table at a later time? Do you have a plan yet? Writing it down is 50% of the formula. Putting in the work is 25%, and being persistent to your plan is the rest.
Well, now I am off to write that abstract. It's due today, and once it's turned in, I will get cracking on making it into a presentation and paper: It'll be about half of my Master's thesis, and I have found out that I've been given the privilege (and the air fare & hotel!) to present it at an international conference in Vienna, Austria in June.