Posted by: David D. Daggett | March 24, 2008

Success Relativity

Success Relativity

     How do you measure your successes? The truth is that I consider myself to be an average athlete, and I probably am. Growing up I played football, baseball, hockey, wrestled, and dabbled in a number of other sports. I never made an all-star team, and really just enjoyed the competition, and being fit and physical.


Easter Mile and 5 K run

     When I got out of school I picked up triathlon which really was just a continuation of a fitness lifestyle that I picked up from my parents. Over the years I have continued to be mediocre, although I have experienced some successes.

     In more recent years I have tended to compete in more elite races and against more elite competition. So, I have once again found myself generally toward the middle of the pack. The result is that I actually see myself as just an ordinary sort of fit middle-aged guy.

     This weekend it sort of hit me. Our whole family participated in an event that had a one mile fun run along with a 5 K race. The star of the day was six year old Emmaline who stole the show by coming in 6th overall in the one mile. Cindy and all the kids did just great.

     I ran the 5 K. I was running fairly easily just behind the lead pack for the first mile. There were a number of high school and college age runners in there. I figured I could never out sprint their young legs so I surged and upped the pace. To my surprise no one came with me, so I just kept on going and ended up winning out of sight of the field.

     Now, mind you that this was a very low key race, but there were obviously some fit younger runners in the crowd. Perhaps my view of my ability when measured by the general population is lower than it maybe should be. But, my reference point has been elite level races.

     An interesting thing can happen – the more you succeed, the more you surround yourself with more and more successful people, so the view doesn’t appear to change. I think maybe driven people tend to be trapped in this “success relativity” in a way that they really don’t allow themselves to appreciate their successes. Maybe I knew this intellectually, but I’m not sure I had an understanding of its meaning until this Easter 5 K.

     Let’s call this the “Theory of Success Relativity.” I am going to ponder this concept further in coming weeks. This may be an area of personal enlightenment that may be beneficial beyond athletics.

Pondering relative success,



  1. […] Use caution in measuring success by comparing your results to others’. There aren’t too many of us that should be actually trying to compare our results to […]

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