Simon says, “You can help people succeed but you cannot prevent their failure.”
Now that you are familiar with the success equation, Simon’s words are particularly cogent. Whether your concern is for your teenager, your significant other, someone you supervise, your best customer, a friend, or refugees in a third-world country, their success is not and cannot be your responsibility.
You can and do provide all the opportunities you can, the best output of which you are capable. You assure they have the best raw materials available as input to their individual success businesses. That input includes your good-will, your encouragement, your patience, your persistence. They have the finest opportunities you are able to put out there for them. How they use those opportunities to expand and enrich their internal resources is a product of their attitudes, their determination, their innate abilities, their commitment to success, their capacity to capitalize on the opportunities at hand. It is somewhat like the old poem:
You can lead a horse to water,
But you can’t make it drink;
You can lead a fool to knowledge,
But you can’t make him think.
You can do what you can do; but you cannot make it happen. No one can operate your success business for you; and you cannot do it for anyone else, no matter how much you at times may wish you could.
Success is always personal.
As you work to provide opportunities for other people to succeed, do not make promises you cannot keep but do keep the promises you make.
You cannot promise to do whatever it takes for people to succeed. You can promise to provide those opportunities you can provide to facilitate their success.
You cannot promise to hang-in-there, giving it your best effort forever. You can promise to stick with it so long as they are giving it their best effort.
You cannot promise you will keep trying whether they make progress or not. You can promise to keep working with them until they succeed or it becomes clear to you they either will not or cannot succeed.
You cannot promise to do someone else’s success work. You can promise to help them succeed.
Although most people understand and accept these facts of success life, some do not. They try to make their success your responsibility and their lack of success your fault. They do not see any other explanations when they do not succeed. It does not fit into their view of things that success is a day-by-day process and they are always fully in-charge of their success. They cannot delegate it to you or to anyone else; and they cannot look to you or to anyone else as the source of their lack of progress, although they still try to make someone else their scapegoat. For you, though, the rules are simple:
Do not take on other people’s success problems as if they were yours.
Do not expect anyone else to take on your success problems as if they were theirs.
Your lack of success is never someone else’s fault.