What Does Success Mean to You?
Why defining your version of success is key to a fulfilling life.
What do I want to achieve in life? We all have different goals and aspirations and finding your true calling can be a difficult task. As I started out in my career in finance, all I really cared about was how much money I was making and how could I move up as quick as possible. As I have gotten older and gained more life experience, I realize that this is not a fundamental driver for me. I spent most of my 20s and early 30s chasing the dollar and trying to appear successful to my friends and family. But what is success? We all should have our own definitions of success.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” Bruce Lee
Now, my definition of success has much more to do with the value I place on time and freedom more so than money. Money allows you to have more control over both but it is just a resource to help improve your life and that of others. To continue accumulating more and more stuff is not the path to happiness. I still love gadgets and have a few things I collect but meaningful relationships, personal growth, helping others, and having an open mind adds much more value to my life.
We are all working to find our path in this world and everyone’s will be different. Let’s quit comparing ourselves to everyone else and celebrate prosperity for all. This life is tough enough even if you’re not worried about what everyone else is doing.
“Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.”
― Lao Tzu
Constantly comparing ourselves to others and chasing the next big thing is part of the human condition but it can bring so much suffering and unhappiness. It is something I struggle with daily but through meditation, I have been able to slow down the “comparing mind” and work on my own path.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” Jim Rohn
If you don’t define success on your own terms somebody else will. You could look back late in life and realize you were climbing the wrong mountain all along. Success is personal, don’t let society define it for you. Sit down and write out your version of success. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Write a detailed version of your daily life. Write about where you live, your significant other, your pets, the food you ate. Start from the minute you wake up and don't skip anything. Read this every year to determine if you are on the path. I found this exercise from listening to a Tim Ferriss podcast with Debbie Millman. It served me well and I believe it could help you too.
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