Friday, July 27, 2012

Mitt Romney and Success

Watching Mitt Romney on "Piers Morgan" this evening, something he said caught my ear.  He implied that President Obama and Democrats were coming out against his success and were going after successful people.  He equated success with having a lot of money. 

I have some qualms about this.  Two points come to mind.

Is success defined as doing your job well?  Can a nurse be successful?  Are there successful teachers?  In a business environment are the administrative assistants successful?  Does one have to be a business owner to be successful?  Can someone within the bureaucracy of a medium-sized company be successful?  What about the car dealers who were forced out by the auto manufacturers a few years ago?  Are those people no longer considered successful?  Business earnings go up and down.  Is success measured at that moment or over the long haul?  If someone starts a business that does well, sells it, and starts another that fizzles is he a success or not?  The word is slippery.

Keeping score with money is also a little difficult.  Must the money be made honestly?  Are bank robbers or drug dealers successful?  If someone makes a lot of money but spends more, are they successful?  Must the money be flaunted?  Oseola McCarty was an Alabama washerwoman who lived simply.  I doubt anyone would have called her successful but when she died in 1999 she left $150,000 to the University of Alabama.

If you limit the use of success to Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Mitt Romney, and their financial peers, you have a very small group of successful people.  What words would you use to describe everyone else?  

1 comment:

Helen Bushnell said...

I think that Warren Buffet would consider a good teacher to be successful. He is also someone who has shown a great deal of gratitude to the community of Omaha and the success of his father which were both very important in his success. He also recognizes that he makes money when the economy does well.

I don't really think that it matters what Warren Buffet thinks per se, but it is interesting that even someone who is very good at making money does not necessarily think that is a good definition of success.