The meaning of success
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill
Success is often that elusive and almost indefinable goal to which all men are looking, but success is hardly ever the same thing to two different people.
Sitting on the stage at the AUT Winter Graduation gave me pause to think about what success meant to an auditorium full of students, whanau, friends, staff and guests.
The staff seated on the stage in their academic regalia, colours signifying their discipline of study and level of achievement. The doctoral staff in their rich red robes with their funny hats, the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor ready to confer diplomas, degrees and postgraduate awards. The students patiently waiting for their turn to walk across the stage, to become a graduand of 2014.
The guest speaker who was soon to leave the University after 15 years of service, spoke about the special privilege of being part of the student journey. She recalled times in her career when success was hard won, in the early days as she acclimatised to an academic environment, failure was often a constant. As she draws near to the end of this career, she knows that it was those early failures that lead to some of her greatest success. She reminds the graduands, success is a journey not a destination, playing your part, is what is really important.
The student speaker spoke confidently about his troughs and peaks of study, he talked about the notion ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ as he paid respect to his support network. He asked his peers to remember this time, appreciate that they were now part of an elite group of people, he challenged them “you can no longer be a spectator, it is time to be part of building a better world, this is our time”. He concluded with a piece from Elle Woods speech out of the movie Legally Blonde,
“it is with passion, courage and conviction, and a strong sense of self that we take our next steps into the world, remembering the first impressions are not always correct. You must always have faith in people, and most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself”.
Congratulations Class of 2014 we did it, go and celebrate your success.
Navigator Partner Agnes Naera is an accomplished professional with more than ten years’ experience in the tertiary education sector. She is strongly motivated and committed to creating a society that maximises the potential of all people.