Posted in In my humble opinion..., Unanswered Questions

Unanswered Question: How should we measure success?

What inspired this post? I read that one of Elon Musk’s children has become transgender.
Here’s my stream of consciousness that followed.

I’m so thankful for people like Elon Musk. His genius, and drive, are exceptional. But… was he an involved father along the way? If he has been, have our futures been reduced from his distractions on behalf of his family?

Now, I’m not blaming Musk for anything. I have no idea what his life is like. My thoughts went to who we consider “high achievers” and how often their accomplishments are a ‘trade-off’ for other things.
I had a big online blowback one time from adding context to a thread about one of the gifted geniuses who inspired impressionism to the art world. I had just watched one of my all-time favorite documentaries that showed the age of Impressionism. One fact that came up about many of the artists was their abandonment of their families in favor of their ‘driven’ pursuits. Not all of them but a few had left their families to nearly starve. When I brought that topic up, several people accused me of being a ‘hater’ and a killjoy for bringing it up. All they wanted to discuss was the beauty and genius those people had added to Art.
Well, I get that. It may not have been the right place for the comment BUT the thread had been started as one about “gaining knowledge”. To me, there isn’t ‘good’ knowledge or ‘bad’ knowledge… just knowledge.

So, how should we measure success? We certainly need people like Elon Musk and Alfred Sisley. Many influential historical figures actually had tragic ‘home lives’. I think that question is an important one. Status, money, power, and celebrity are so highly regarded today, perhaps we should hold up other kinds of success too.

Fathers who provide for and raise their children, mothers who trade a promotion for a work schedule that allows them to shuttle their kids to extra-curricular activities, offspring who refuse to relocate because they won’t leave their elderly parents, young people who join the military because they love their country while putting off the starting of a career and family, etc. You get the point.
I’d like to see a little more emphasis on living a ‘good’ life not necessarily a ‘notable’ one.

This scene from Bruce Almighty came to mind just now. I think it sums my post up nicely.


I love a well told story. If it makes me laugh, all the better.

4 thoughts on “Unanswered Question: How should we measure success?

  1. I don’t admire Musk the way you do, but I agree 100% that children are better off when both parents take an active, involved role in their upbringing. I’m lucky my children are girls, since imo a boy would have needed a much more present fatherly role model…

    1. I admire Musk for his intellect. I’m not even pointing to individual choices. Those are complex. I’m sure that you’ve given those young ladies a lot of inspired parenting. We’re only individuals and many, like you, step up to do “good”.

    1. This is about success and what we applaud as success. The single mother who manages to keep things together is a success story. How it got to be about two parent households (which are best) I’ll never know. I guess people bring themselves to posts. ❤

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