Successful or Useful?

May 4, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“… you seem to spend a lot of energy on the question of how to be successful. But that is the wrong question… The question is: how to be useful!” Peter Drucker to Jim Collins

Aristotle said it best… “A person’s purpose in life is to contribute to the value of society.” I cling to his words with tenacity because I feel they define how I can make a difference in my short stay on this planet.

Success is About Me

Note that Aristotle says nothing of “success” in American vernacular but highly emphasizes the value of “usefulness.” In my mind success is about me, while usefulness is about the people I serve.

Success is most often measured in terms of wealth and stature. And all too often success comes at the expense of others. It’s all about winners and losers. Whereas in usefulness there are no losers. Everyone wins—both giver and receiver.

Usefulness is About Someone Else

Usefulness is a lifestyle that reflects an attitude of humility and thoughtfulness. It requires one to be always asking the question, “How can I help?” I think Peter Drucker was one of the few business people that understood the very best of leaders think first of usefulness before they think of success, asking of themselves “How can I serve the needs of my company, my direct reports and my customers?” Ironically, it is usefulness that gives birth to an unselfish kind of success. Both company and leader discover success when leaders of the company focus on how they can be of use.

What If?

The usefulness formula applies to everything we do in life—home, friendships, and group affiliations. What if we were all to go through each day asking ourselves how we can be of use to another person or group of people? I believe our world would be a different place. And it all begins with… Me and You!

The Secret to Success:

Be Useful!

Photo courtesy of GeorgeRudy at istockphoto

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