Thursday, May 3, 2007

Aspergian Success

What defines a successful Aspergian?

In a post a few days ago, I wrote about being successful. Several of you took exception to my definition of success, which in the post appeared tied to financial success. I certainly understand that there are many ways to measure success other than net worth. I also know many wealthy people are unhappy, and many happy people are not wealthy.

I’d like to expand upon the concept of success below.

For purposes of discussion, here are what I believe to be seven essential truths about success:

1. People that are friendly and able to get along well with others will have more options in life.

2. The more knowledge a person has, and the better developed his reasoning power, the more life options will be available to him.

3. Given the ability to choose wisely, a person with more options will be more likely to achieve success in their chosen field, and elsewhere in life.

4. Successful people are more likely to feel like they are in control of their destiny. And people who feel like they are in control often prove in practice to be in control, thereby influencing their lives for the better.

5. People who achieve success in their chosen field are more likely to be happy than the general population.

As an aside, I believe people who get along with others, are knowledgeable, and have good decision making abilities are much more likely to help others. A person who likes and is liked by others will naturally want to help those around him, and a successful person who likes other people will have powerful means to help.

Powerful may mean many things in that context. It may mean the charitable businessman’s power to buy home heating oil for the poor in winter. It may mean the preacher’s power to call a landlord and find shelter for a struggling family. Power can even be a politician’s power to call a business owner and get a reformed drug dealer a straight job. People who wish to do so may deploy their personal power in many ways to help themselves and others.

6. People who achieve success in their chosen field are more likely to be financially well-off than the general population.

7. Public health studies have repeatedly shown that happy, affluent people in control of their own destiny have a better quality of life and live longer, healthier lives.

As you can see, they all build upon one another. In the end, happiness, the feeling of controlling one’s destiny, and financial success often go hand in hand.

It is my contention that the giant stumbling block for many smart Aspergians is #1. If they can overcome that issue, they are well on their way. I’ve experienced that in my own life. I was a smart kid, and I had no trouble devouring the available literature on any topic that interested me (Item #2.) But my ability to grow and benefit from my store of knowledge was limited because I was not good at communicating and working with others. When I worked on that, the results were immediate and dramatic.

And now, I have to go to work. I will ponder this thought during the day.

2 comments:

Kanani said...

Well, you gave me something to ponder over my relatively unhealthy lunch of a chicken enchilada and rice. It wasn't Panera.

I guess we all have different versions of the "7," but I think the results are similiar.

A successful person
1. Knows to be grateful for all the small things.
2. Uses praise and isn't afraid to point out what's being done right. They make people feel valued.
3. Knows how to take someone to task without savaging them. (Uses assertion rather than aggression).
4. Can accept when things aren't going their way.
5. Is flexible.
6. Tries to understand where the other person is coming from.
7. Knows of impatience, but tries to let patience prevail.

As far as the Aspergians I know (boy, what a great word), a lot of them have been the most loyal friend a gal could have.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that people who have problems with communication and "social skills" can't be taught them. I would guess that they ultimately must teach themselves. What's you view of this?