How Far You Go Depends On How You Define Success

2019—and what could be the beginning of a wonderful new year with a myriad of opportunities open to you on a personal, professional and business level. But you have to make it happen. Did you ever stop to think why some of us are the alpha (lead) dog while others merely follow in a pack?

While it may be complex in scope there is a logical scenario. Not all of us have what it takes to be an individual and/or team leader. Let’s focus on four key traits that both men and women have in common as they pursue worthy life goals.

As a professor at Nassau Community College, I try to “drive home” these four points to my entrepreneurial students:


Regardless of age or gender, the ability of an individual to plan, focus and turn ideas into action is paramount to success. Independent thinkers do not require a “boss” or supervisor to lead them. They are self-driven and know how to innovate to achieve. That’s why many pursue their own ventures.


While earning potential is one gauge of power, so too, is the symbol of personal influence over others. Certainly political figures, celebrities, popular athletes and college professors such as myself are seen by society as opinion leaders. Maybe the financial opportunities are not as significant as in the business sector, but there are different measurements that apply. In a word: priceless.

Personal Growth

As we age, we often recognize our abilities to “put fires out” when needed. Now we can “hold our heads high” and serve as mentors to the young. I know, as a professor, I find the learning curve to be a 50/50 equal proposition. Students often “walk circles” around me regarding their knowledge of social media and technology. Yes, I admit I am “old school” but can learn from those around me regardless of age or gender.


This trait is a must-have on my list. Achieving success in anything requires a positive outlook and inner discipline so you can finish what you start. Learn to manage time effectively and you will be more productive. No ifs, ands or buts. Faith in oneself always trumps the challenges and obstacles we face each day.

Here’s hoping 2019 is your year to make a difference. Good luck.

Since 1978, Professor Jack K. Mandel has taught marketing at Nassau Community College in Garden City. He is the recipient of the prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award conferred by NYS Association of Two-Year Colleges.

Jack K. Mandel
Jack K. Mandel is a professor at Nassau Community College.

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