It is inevitable that you will think about success down in life. Success is such a powerful word. We all want it, we all admire those who have it and we are all terribly scared of its opposite. The ability to measure success properly can have a great impact on your life. It can influence how you perceive yourself and what you broadcast to the world. It can influence how you talk, how you walk and what you do. Success can also contribute to a sense of accomplishment. The problem is that the vast majority of us measure success incorrectly. Before you can pursue success, you need to understand what it is and what it is not.
What is success? The definition of this term varies among persons and most people adopt the society definition which at the end becomes a nightmare when achieved. The right and best definition to the word can be given only by you. No one can define success better than you are because in one point or the other his definition will sound wrong to you. To some success means appearing on the front page of a magazine or a newspaper. Based on this widespread definition of success, a person is successful when they make a lot of money. Like many, I grew up equating money with success, and for a time, that framed my definition. We chase money, fame, power, education, relationships and a thousand other things without ever stopping to ask one essential question: What, actually, is success? If you have a lot of money, a nice car and a big house, are you considered successful? If, however, you base your definition of success entirely on money, tangibles and other superfluous things, you may be up for an unpleasant surprise. In fact, you may even be setting yourself up for disastrous failure. It is a common saying “Lack of money makes a man common” but as I mature I realize success is not all about owing multimillions in the bank account. Whether or not you are successful in life is entirely up to you to judge. Therefore, it is so important to establish your very own definition of success. Otherwise, you might end up chasing a superficial version of success (or someone else’s definition) that will neither fulfill nor satisfy you. If we do not answer this question, we can end up climbing the wrong ladder and pursue someone else’s version of success. We get to the top only to discover we climbed the wrong mountain. We achieve our goals only to realise they were the wrong ones. It is a disaster few people are able to recover from.
Michael Gibbons says to his doctor, “So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”. From his words even a first degree imbecile can confirm he climbed the wrong ladder. He gave the wrong definition to success. How do we avoid a similar fate?
Those who have achieved the greatest amounts of actual success are those who are crystal clear on what it means to reach the top, for them. If we want to follow in their steps, we must achieve equal clarity.
WHAT SUCCESS IS NOT
Before we can pursue success, we need to understand what success is not. I have been on social media and realised how many people hold a very narrow definition of success. They think it is about building wealth, having the perfect relationship, having a large social media following. And a lot of times, they attach famous people to their image of success.
None of these things or people is wrong, but being like them does not necessarily make you successful. Many people have fought and struggled to the top only to feel miserable and burned out once they get there. They are unhappy because they pursued the wrong definition of success—one that did not match their values. Throughout childhood and early adulthood, we learn various ideas of success from our parents, teachers and friends. Everyone has their own agenda and idea of who and what we should be. Although it is OK to value the opinions and hopes of others, we should not necessarily adopt them as our own. No one can impose their version of success on us. No one can tell us what it means to live the good life. It is easy to assume that success means obtaining a specific object, such as a job or social status, and to believe that if we get that thing, we will be successful. But some of the greatest successes resulted from the worst failures. Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”