Seeking success? Seek wisdom first Published Jan. 6, 2009 By Col. Prince Gilliard 81st Training Group commander KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, MISS -- Success, according to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is the achievement of an objective or goal. Everyone measures success differently, and what you may consider success may not hold true for everyone else. However you define success, remember as you strive for that objective or goal to first "seek wisdom." In the book, "The Traveler's Gift" by Andy Andrews, he describes "to seek wisdom" as one of seven principles for personal success. Those waiting for success to happen without preparation and work will be disappointed. You must actively pursue success by first seeking wisdom. Why "seek wisdom?" It sounds simple enough to do, but may be hard to accept for those who find themselves in difficult times and who believe they made good decisions to that point. People experiencing difficult times were likely brought to that defining point based on past decisions. Those of us who are parents steer our children away from poor decisions we made in our youth. How many prefer your teenager associate with well-behaved children rather than disrespectful ones? Our tactical objective is that our teenager's behavior will be positively influenced by the children he or she is surrounded by. In these instances, we try to pass on our wisdom so others do not make the same mistakes. Anne Frank said, "Our very lives are fashioned by choice. First we make choices. Then our choices make us." Seeking wisdom will help you make better decisions towards success. How does one "seek wisdom?" Open your mind and continually learn to create a solid foundation to base your decisions. For example, reading books from the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Reading List and talking with your true friends will put you on the path to wisdom. Remember a true friend is someone who makes you better by his or her presence. We all have unique life experiences to share, and when we counsel with wiser people, we add their knowledge and experiences to our decision-making processes and greatly increase the probability of our success. It's important to carefully consider who you allow into your close circle of friends, since they're more likely the ones you'll hold counsel and "seek wisdom" with on a regular basis. If you surround yourself with people who don't expect your best and don't challenge you to be better, then you get what you pay for. So instead, surround yourself with people and friends who'll help you on the path of success. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, realize "the buck stops with you" and your current path or situation is a result of past decisions. In the words of the previous Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Colin Powell, "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure." Our challenge in every successful venture is to "seek wisdom" first.