A Man's Success
True or False?
- A mans success is determined by his
- A mans success is measured by how well
he provides for his family materially.
- A mans success is equated with how
much power and influence he wields in the
- A mans success is based on how much he
- A mans success depends on how smart,
formally educated and clever he is.
How many of these did you answer true? How many
Beyond arguments of right and wrong for any of
these statements, which statements have had the
most impact in your life? Which ones most
influenced your decisions about how youve
spent or are spending your lifetime?
I believe that our ideas of what constitutes
success literally become the blueprint for how we
make our life decisions and lead our lives. The
blueprint formed by the statements above is one
that becomes programmed early in a boys life
and for most men becomes the very basis of their
lives. I know these statements have had an impact
on how I view myself and other men.
Is there really any other way to look at what
makes for success in a mans life?
In the film, Bucket List, with death knocking at
their doors, two older guys conspire to do what
they had not yet done, the list mostly consisting
of physical feats and things, stuff they may have
put off while busy following societal scripts for
success and being responsible adults.
In contrast, a palliative care nurse in
Australia discovered a different kind of bucket
list when she counseled dying patients in their
last 12 weeks on earth. There was no mention of
more sex or skydiving. Instead she asked about and
heard common regrets. Among the top regrets for men
was, I wish I hadnt worked so
Here are the top five regrets in a nutshell.
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life
true to myself, not the life others expected of
"This was the most common regret of all. When
people realize that their life is almost over and
look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many
dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not
honored even half of their dreams and had to die
knowing that it was due to choices they had made,
or not made.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
"This came from every male patient that I
nursed. They missed their children's youth and
their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of
this regret, but as most were from an older
generation, many of the female patients had not
been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply
regretted spending so much of their lives on the
treadmill of a work existence."
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order
to keep peace with others. As a result, they
settled for a mediocre existence and never became
who they were truly capable of becoming. Many
developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and
resentment they carried as a result."
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my
"Often they would not truly realize the full
benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and
it was not always possible to track them down. Many
had become so caught up in their own lives that
they had let golden friendships slip by over the
years. There were many deep regrets about not
giving friendships the time and effort that they
deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not
realize until the end that happiness is a choice.
They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits.
The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed
into their emotions, as well as their physical
lives. Fear of change had them pretending to
others, and to their selves, that they were
content, when deep within, they longed to laugh
properly and have silliness in their life
If this retrospective laser clarity can appear
at the end of a mans life, why not sooner,
why wait until its too late to realize real
fulfillment? Why not define success for yourself
now and live that at whatever age you are?
The most profoundly simple and powerful process
I know for that is The Passion Test. Its
given me deep confirmation of what is most
important and what brings me the most happiness in
my life. It then gives me a baseline from which to
begin living that way from where I am, one step at
a time. It has given me and tens of thousands of
others a way to define success on their own terms
in the face of old blueprints, old scripts of what
others have told them about success and how their
worth is measured.
The question is: Are you ready to trade the
comfort of familiarity, old stories,
patterns and habits referred to by palliative care
nurse Bronnie Ware for a life filled with even more
happiness and success (on your terms) than you may
I welcome you to join me for an hour of that
self-discovery. I have my wife and business partner
Karin Lubin take me through the process at the end
of each year and beginning of the next. And I do
the same for her. Having someone ask you questions
so you can listen to your own hearts answers
And finally this from the new book by 88 year
old pop and jazz singer Tony Bennett, Life Is A
Gift: The Zen of Tony Bennett
"Shed the idea of competition, and of being the
best. Instead, desire to improve only by being
"If you follow your passion, you'll never work a
day in your life."
Bronnie Ware recorded her patients dying
epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai,
which gathered so much attention that she put her
observations into a book called The Top Five
Regrets of the Dying.
The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to
Discovering Your Life Purpose by Janet Bray Attwood
and Chris Attwood (a NY Times best-seller that
has stayed at the top of Amazon lists for
NEW! Your Hidden Riches: Unleashing the Power of
Ritual to Create a Life of Meaning and Purpose by
Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood with Sylva
Dvorak, PH.D Recently released and already a NY
Times best-seller Your Hidden Riches reaffirms the
value of the principles and process of The Passion
Test inside a treasure trove of rituals for making
your ideal life come true one ritual at a time.
* * *
Crutcher has over three decades of experience as a
teacher, counselor, and community
organizer/builder. He is a personal and
professional development coach, facilitator, and
consultant to both large institutions and small
organizations in the public, private, and
non-profit sectors. He has done extensive work with
men and boys to become all they can be having
opened one of the first state grant funded
mens counseling centers in America. He
developed programs to assist men in learning
alternatives to violence, father and son workshops
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