The measure of achievement, true achievement, is and should be very personal. Achievement is built in to our very fiber. Otherwise why would the child take such delight in his first two steps and pick himself up countless times to take the next three. But we can easily “get in the way” of achievement for its own sake if we are not careful. As well meaning as each of us are, a gold star, an extra $5.00, too much praise and the joy of inherent achievement is stripped of its true value. How quickly we learn to work for the goal instead of delighting in the process!
Achievement to be proud of is achieving to the very best of one’s ability. To achieve one’s personal best requires good, sound, fundamental preparation and personal development, self-esteem, a good education, and the unobstructed desire to achieve. The tools must be given and the environment must be created to allow each and every individual the opportunity to achieve to the very best of his abilities.
While Harvard may well be a standard of a high school senior’s “achievement,” equally as important to measuring achievement is a high school senior’s ability to stand before an audience and share their knowledge, their opinions, poised and self-assured. Pursuing one’s dream career that may not garner great wealth, but can result in great happiness and personal satisfaction - that is also achievement.
Setting aside wealth, professional status and titles - perhaps the true achiever can and should be recognized as the young adult who is productive, at peace with himself, independent, self-assured; the adult who knows within himself the joy of personal satisfaction for a job well done whether or not anyone else has acknowledged it. We have all seen it in the faces of others and hopefully experienced it ourselves - that smile, that satisfaction of success.