What is success?
An even better question is: what is success to you?
We often hear that someone is successful if they have lots of money. Mass media programs this into our brains with their consistent messaging. This causes us to confuse becoming rich with being successful. And can cause us to feel like failures if we fail to amass great amounts of wealth.
But, isn’t a mother who raises her children to be honest and contributing adults, a success story? Isn’t a child who struggled learning how to talk and becomes a renowned speaker, as an adult, a success? Isn’t a man who wanted to climb the world’s tallest peak successful when he takes a selfie up there?
Perhaps we need to rethink what success is in our own lives, so that we can achieve and feel it.
For you it may be a pride of completing the painting you’ve started years ago. Or perhaps, it’s a joy you feel when the family is home together enjoying a meal you specially prepared for them. It could also be the satisfaction of all your bills being paid on time and you still having money left at the end of the month.
What is success to you?
How To Define Success?
I believe that everyone needs to define a success for themselves and on their own terms.
To me success is achieving and realization of objectives you’ve set for yourself that you deemed worthy. It is reaching things that make you feel fulfilled, joyful, passionate, and fulfill your life’s purpose.
Many think that success equals a certain amount of money.
“When I reach my first million, I’ll be a success and be happy.”
“I will be happy and feel successful when I buy that house.”
“Landing that job will mean I’m successful and then I’ll be happy.”
Over the years, it is possible that your objectives will change.
My objective when I was young was to come to America and learn English. Reaching those objectives, I felt successful. Obtaining a college degree in less than four years (well less than 3 for me) was a huge success for me, as I was dubbed stupid in elementary school. Then I wanted to get a job, success again.
Shifting my objectives and reaching them one by one I was able to start checking off successes one by one. At each stage of my life, my objectives shifted, but my success factor did not. As even getting a yes for a date from the cutest girl was a success to me.
But I never confused happiness with success.
Happiness is a choice and I focused on being happy with exactly what I had and where I was. I love the journey as much as I love reaching the destination and my goal was not tied to my happiness.
The question that begs is how do we define success in a way that increases our chances of achieving it?
Have A Plan
Not only do we need to define what objective we want to achieve that would make us feel successful, we must develop a plan on how to get there and then take consistent action towards it while of course having fun doing it all the way to achievement.
Reaching your objective is like taking a road trip. You must know where you are and where you want to go. Then you have to plan on how you’ll get to your destination and take actionable steps along the way.
Let’s assume that you’re looking to lose some weight. You are perhaps 20 pounds overweight and you’d like to drop it. Part of that objective is to create a plan and part of that plan may be to join a gym or hire a personal trainer. Perhaps you are working with a nutritionist to eat better as well. The plan is to do a physical activity for at least 30 minutes 3 days a week and to avoid all fast food. To execute efficiently, you put times in your planner for the physical activity and you start creating meal prep days so that you
never have an excuse of having to run to a fast food place. Over time as you take action every day, you start to notice a change in your body, your mood and you reach your stated objective. That is success.
What Success Isn’t
Being successful has nothing to do with money. While money is an easy way to count for stuff, not everything that can be counted counts!
Being a millionaire who has every toy they can have, taking trips all over the globe and learing expensive suits does not mean you are successful.
If you want to be loved and have a house filled with joy
I know of a lot of people who are rich but miserable. They’ve been divorced multiple times, they have no friends, their kids won’t even speak to them and they will likely die lonely and unloved. And what they want most of all is love and friendship.
So yes, the have money but don’t have what their heart truly desires. That is not success as far as I’m concerned.
That doesn’t mean to say that rich equals miserable. But I also don’t want you to think rich equals happy either.
How I Define Success
Money is just a way to measure how much value is delivered to the marketplace, that’s it.
Success is having an actionable plan, taking action along the way, and having fun.
Key words here are “action” and “fun”.
Being able to execute my plan over a period of time and reach my objective while I’m enjoying myself and the process is my definition of success.
I am at a point in my life where I want to give back and pay forward. Nothing satisfies me more than when someone thanks me for helping them change their life. To me that’s success and I feel successful when my students are able to achieve their objectives.
Then I know I’ve done my job.
So define the success in a way that fulfills you and drives you. Ask yourself, what…
- is the result you want to see?
- are the words you wish to hear?
- feelings you want to have to feel and know you’re successful?
Success is not a destination you ever reach, but rather is the journey with some pit stops along the way to fuel, stretch, and take mental pictures. Enjoy the journey and all the stops along the way and success is sure to be yours.
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