Our scientists all the more occupy advanced positions in the development of world science. By the example of their successes in the field of atomic energy, our scientists and technicians have vividly shown how much the increased might of the Soviet state and the further growth of its international authority depends on their efforts and practical successes.
When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we are fully aware of it, we have sold our soul to the many grade-givers. That means we are not only in the world, but also of the world. Then we become what the world makes us. We are intelligent because someone gives us a high grade. We are helpful because someone says thanks. We are likable because someone likes us. And we are important because someone considers us indispensable. In short, we are worthwhile because we have successes. And the more we allow our accomplishments - the results of our actions - to become the criteria of our self-esteem, the more we are going to walk on our mental and spiritual toes, never sure if we will be able to live up to the expectations which we created by our last successes. In many people's lives, there is a nearly diabolic chain in which their anxieties grow according to their successes. This dark power has driven many of the greatest artists into self-destruction.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
Parents can fail to cheer your successes as wildly as you expected, pointing out that you are sharing your Nobel Prize with a couple of other people, or that your Oscar was for supporting actress, not really for a starring role. More subtly, they can cheer your successes too wildly, forcing you into the awkward realization that your achievement of merely graduating or getting the promotion did not warrant the fireworks and brass band.
I had assumed 'a man's character is his fate' meant if my students worked hard they would get good grades, and if they were lazy they would fail-but any idiot could have seen that interpretation. It took no thought whatsoever, and it isn't at all what Joe was trying to teach me. No, what Joe meant was this: my character shapes what my students become, and what they become is my fate. I began to see teaching in a whole new light. From that day forward, I knew everything that happened to my students would haunt me or bless me-and I began to teach as if my happiness depended on their happiness, my successes depended on their successes, and their world was the most important part of my world.
Success is how you collect your minutes. You spend millions of minutes to reach one triumph, one moment, then you spend maybe a thousand minutes enjoying it. If you were unhappy through those millions of minutes, what good is the thousand minutes of triumph? It doesn't equate... Life is made of small pleasures. Good eye contact over the breakfast table with your wife. A moment of touching a friend. Happiness is made of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. If you don't have all those zillions of tiny successes, the big ones don't mean anything.