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View Poll Results: Which do you value more

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  • Improvement

    17 70.83%
  • Success

    7 29.17%
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  1. #1
    Ginkgo
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    Default Improvement vs. Success

    I wasn't entirely sure where to put this thread, so I'll just put it here because it ties into the general social atmosphere.

    So which do you value more, improvement or success?

    Both of these concepts are intertwined, and do have a bearing on each other in real life, but which one do you value more and why?

    Let's give a visual of each and how they manifest themselves...

    A smith who focuses on improvement works, studies, and gets as much experience as possible to hone his craft. The act of smithing itself is a personal quest for perfection that is never satiated. He may be in competition with himself or with other smiths, but he competes to set the bar one notch higher. If this smith was a football coach, he would chant, "You play to perfect your game".

    A smith who focuses on success does what ever he can to make a profit. He may employ new marketing strategies like altering prices or pander to the customer with advertisements. This smith doesn't really equate the quality of his craft with success because his first priority is to win by whatever means possible. If this smith was a football coach, he would chant, "You play to win the game".

    While you can be more successful in improvement, what I'm talking about is achievement for ideological, social or monetary triumph. Defeating the competition is virtuous in and of itself to someone who values this kind of success. Winning an argument is valued over finding the truth to the "successful" debater. Accumulating as much wealth as possible... of course, this could be thought of as a kind of art, and it's something that all people compete for...

    I see that the most successful U.S. politicians have the latter mindset. They may convolute the meanings of their words so they can mimic the voters' priorities. They may try to besmirch each other, entertain, or say whatever the crowd wants to hear instead of perfecting their politics. If a politician is adamant about his/her own politics, then they are generally cast out. Why? Is that really what appeals to us?

    This same mentality skips into other topics like religion, business, finance, etc.
    Last edited by Ginkgo; 07-21-2010 at 03:11 AM. Reason: Clarification. :D

  2. #2
    Phantonym
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    I tend to view improvement as success, it's about the whole process really, reaching the initial goal isn't that important as long as the progress along the way brings satisfaction and opens up other possibilities to explore and thus, improve again. The latter could be said about reaching for success as well, but to me it still seems that you can cover more ground with constant improvement because you go deeper into the subject, possibly notice the finer details and it almost seems like a more natural process that brings more satisfaction in the long run.

  3. #3

    Default

    I value improvement higher than success.

  4. #4
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    I value success more. I'm a perfectionist; anything less than perfect is a failure to me. The problem is I have high standards for myself as well, which basically means nothing is ever good enough. However, this idea of success is built around my own interpretation of what I consider to be successful. I don't need external acknowledgement or to 'win' necessarily.

    And I certainly don't hold others up to the same standards. I am much more forgiving of failure in others than I am in myself.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  5. #5
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky is BLUE! View Post
    I tend to view improvement as success, it's about the whole process really, reaching the initial goal isn't that important as long as the progress along the way brings satisfaction and opens up other possibilities to explore and thus, improve again. The latter could be said about reaching for success as well, but to me it still seems that you can cover more ground with constant improvement because you go deeper into the subject, possibly notice the finer details and it almost seems like a more natural process that brings more satisfaction in the long run.
    Yes, maybe I should have been more clear about "success".

    While you can be more successful in improvement, what I'm talking about is achievement for ideological, social or monetary triumph. Defeating the competition is virtuous in and of itself to someone who values this kind of success. Winning an argument is valued over finding the truth to the "successful" debater. Accumulating as much wealth as possible... of course, this could be thought of as a kind of art, and it's something that all people compete for...

  6. #6
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    Yes, maybe I should have been more clear about "success".

    While you can be more successful in improvement, what I'm talking about is achievement for ideological, social or monetary triumph. Defeating the competition is virtuous in and of itself to someone who values this kind of success. Winning an argument is valued over finding the truth to the "successful" debater. Accumulating as much wealth as possible... of course, this could be thought of as a kind of art, and it's something that all people compete for...
    Yeah, this wasn't clear. What you're talking about is winning and triumphing over another. In this case I take back my vote.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  7. #7
    ¡MI TORTA! Amethyst's Avatar
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    Success is usually temporary.
    Improvement stays for a lifetime, or at least until you get Alzheimer's.
    Personally though, I'd take success. Nice to have memories of me doing something I'm good at and able to shine above others.

  8. #8

    Default

    Would you rather:

    be admired for your work, even though you’re not satisfied with it yourself?
    or
    create something of lasting worth, but remain unknown?


    This question has always interested me on the Thomson-Maidenbaum Personality Inventory test.

    I always choose the second option.

  9. #9
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    there is a "right" answer here. ^.^;;;;

    but i feel like these are false dichotomies.

    obviously, no one appreciates being stepped on or deceived for the sole sake of another's gain.

    I see that the most successful U.S. politicians have the latter mindset. They may convolute the meanings of their words so they can mimic the voters' priorities. They may try to besmirch each other, entertain, or say whatever the crowd wants to hear instead of perfecting their politics. If a politician is adamant about his/her own politics, then they are generally cast out. Why? Is that really what appeals to us?
    at least in the united states, we are members of a republican democracy - our elected officials represent us. so i would not want a politician to be oblivious to the crowd and develop only their own personal politics; they are supposed to act in part as my agent, because it would be inefficient for every single person to represent themselves in congress. so yes, i do like a politician who's in touch with his crowd.

    people are not that dense - they notice when someone deceives them for their own sake. they do not like it. they will not want that person to be in charge. but all politics are give-and-take, and i consent that my politician is not going to perfectly represent me. after all, to represent me at all, they will need to win first. but would i rather the pandering politician who shares my ideals to get into office, or the upright politician who does not share my ideals? the pandering politician, honestly. i want someone who is going to speak on behalf of me. if they can be ethically clear-cut, that's an added bonus, but really i just want someone who represents my views.

    but no, of course no one likes a politician who lies to get in office and then wields his power in a way that goes against the reasons he says he would like to be elected.

    Would you rather:

    be admired for your work, even though you’re not satisfied with it yourself?
    or
    create something of lasting worth, but remain unknown?
    another one of those questions that seems like it has an obvious "shallow" and "deep" answer. yet the work i do is never perfect, in my opinion, but if others enjoy it, why shouldn't i take some pride in it? that means i made a meaningful connection with other people. so unless it breaks a very strong ethical principle of mine, i don't see why i shouldn't take some pleasure in this. and what is "lasting worth," anyway? because leaving a legacy is a sort of narcissism in itself, even if it's through one's work.

    as for "truth" in an argument or "improvement", these are very objective things. some things are much more subjective. i paint, and i greatly value when others admire my art, because that means they are connecting with it. does that mean i pander to the audience? no, not if connection with others was my intent in the first place... and similarly, if i win an argument in the thread, does that mean truth was obscured? no, not necessarily, and it doesn't mean i'm manipulative or evil. but it does demonstrate that i'm good at persuasion, which, if applied to a cause i believe in, is not a bad thing.

    sorry if i came off as rant-y, but i feel like questions like this with an obvious answer are meant to preach at people, and they assume the other option is fundamentally evil and inferior. but they so often overlook the very important factors of motive and meaning. let's face it, that successful smith needs money. he needs money because he wants to be comfortable and eat and provide for his family and be secure and be happy. the other smith wants to improve because he values his artistry and he doesn't care so much about material things and that makes him happy. are they really so different?
    Last edited by skylights; 07-21-2010 at 06:27 AM. Reason: edited/reorganized, it wasn't very clear

  10. #10
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    I value MONEY, as it provides one with OPTIONS.

    To me SUCCESS is more associated with MONEY than IMPROVEMENT.

    You can IMPROVE your ability to write proposals and get new accounts, but until you SUCCESSFULLY win an account you have little chance to make more MONEY.

    Halla has spoken...

    --------------------
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    MBTI -> (E) 77.14% | (i) 22.86% ; (S) 60% | (n) 40% ; (T) 72.22% | (f) 27.78% ; (P) 51.43% | (j) 48.57%
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