How do You Define Success?
What do you define as success? It is a question that few are able to answer. Many of the most motivated people are so afraid of losing time while chasing “success” that they never even ponder what success is to them and risk losing it in the process of going for “it”. I urge you to ask yourself what success is to YOU.
Don’t lose control of your happiness.
If you are unable to answer this question easily, chances are you are stuck in what is termed the “rat race” or a “competition with the Joneses”. It is easy to let society determine success should look like for you; getting a college degree, starting a career, respect in your field, and continuously climbing the ladder. While all of these may be great steps towards success and most will help propel you there; they are not by themselves SUCCESS. Success is what will bring you happiness. By placing your image of success in other people’s hands you lose control of YOUR happiness.
Who do you think is happiest?
Ask yourself; who do you think is happiest? – The man with the capability and fortune to do anything he pleases but no time to spend it on or with his family; or the man who might sacrifice his potential fortune to take his kids to Disneyland or send them off to college. The answer isn’t always the same for everyone and it is possible to have it all. But the real question is what do you deem as most important, what aspect of your life could you never sacrifice. I am encouraging you to define what you are really after. May it be family, corporate power, respect, glory, adding value, or just “the love of the game”.
Don’t risk being in a rat race you don’t want or need to be in.
Without taking the time to define what you believe to be personal success, you can enter yourself in a rat race you don’t want or need to be in and actually be avoiding success and happiness. This could ultimately lead to a feeling of emptiness later in life. I was told the story of a man who wanted to accomplish nothing else but to simply live on a ski resort, become a ski instructor and share all of this with his family. He became blind to nothing else but his dream and in the process lost sight of what was really important…his family. He was a very successful businessman – subjecting himself to 60-70 hour workweeks and other stresses. Eventually he was able to retire with the handsome sum of tens of millions of dollars. He purchased his dream home in Colorado on the ski resort and was a great ski instructor. Yet in the process of acquiring his wealth he drove his kids away. They all hated him and refused to visit him or bring his grandchildren to visit. This man was miserable, not because he had failed in his efforts, but rather because he lost what he truly valued in his pursuit to win a race that he never wanted to be in.
Only by defining your success can you attain it.
The purpose of this article is to encourage you to examine where your true success lies and refrain from destroying its potential as you pursue your other goals. Only by defining success can you attain it. For some it is to have security, for others it is to have a burning intensity every moment that they need to act. What ever your success is: go after it with every breath that you have.
The Dalai Lama,
when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”