How ‘Bout We Stop Using This Word

For a myriad of reasons, I hate the word “success.” The main reason, I suppose, is because the way we associate it with wealth. I guess I’m too old to fall for that line; I know better. Which is why this perverted use of the word is so annoying. Because it perpetuates a fraud. And misleads our youth. And takes people’s eye off the ball — the one that truly matters.

Donald McCullogh, in Waking From The American Dream, makes the point in stark terms as he described the fortunes of seven well-known successful men:

“In 1923, seven men who had made it to the top of the financial success pyramid met together at the Edgewater Hotel in Chicago. Collectively, they controlled more wealth than the entire United States Treasury, and for years the media had held them up as examples of success.

Who were they? Charles M. Schwab, president of the world’s largest steel company; Arthur Cutten, the greatest wheat speculator of his day; Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange; Albert Fall, a member of the President’s Cabinet; Jesse Livermore, the greatest bear on Wall Street; Leon Fraser, president of the International Bank of Settlement; and Ivar Kreuger, the head of the world’s largest monopoly.

What happened to them? Schwab and Cutten both died broke; Whitney spent years of his life in Sing Sing penitentiary; Fall also spent years in prison, but was released so he could die at home; and the others? Livermore, Fraser, and Kreuger, committed suicide.”

I think the world would be better off if we simply stopped using the word. I’m pretty sure our kids would be better off.