Money everywhere, fast cars, prestigious titles, fancy homes; you are currently on the set of every movie, music video, and TV show that is being streamed all around the world. These themes of success are implanted into our minds each day as they have been chosen and accepted as standards and measurements of success. Years ago, like most I sought to acquire more clothes I did not need, more money regardless of my mental and physical health, more prestigious titles and positions so I could announce them in front of others, and more material possessions as validation to others that I was “somebody”. I was “somebody” who looked at these symbols of success with an addiction that was simply seen by others as “hardworking”, “determined”, and “appreciating the finer things”. Being hardworking and dedicated are good qualities to have, but you must ask yourself “what am I truly working hard for? Is it to prove something to myself or is to validate myself to others so I can be accepted?”
After years of chasing others’ definitions of success, I realized that I was practically chasing the wind, meaning that I could never get a hold of a version of success that other people around me accepted. I recognized that success is not measured by material possessions or fancy titles, but measured by what I felt about myself. How can others validate your success when no one but you knows how hard you work? Your success is determined by YOU and YOU, so therefore, no one should have a say if you’re successful or not. If you follow the terms of success based on societal measurements, you will never be fulfilled nor satisfied, because there is always something new that needs to be bought or a title to be achieved. You will be on an escalator that never ends and yes, you may be rising but eventually, you’re going to get nausea and need the escalator to stop.
Socrates stated that “the beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms”, which in turn means that you must develop your own defining terms of success. You may or may not have one specific definition of success but you may have terms or examples that equate to your definition of personal success. Additionally, your definition of success may vary as life progresses but let’s start with the only moment we have, which is right now.
How to develop your own definition of success:
- Be kind to yourself. If you’re not kind to yourself, you will compare yourself to others, become anxious about the future, and become depressed about the past. So at this very moment, be in the present moment and be kind to yourself.
- Start with right now, not 10 years from now or 5 years ago. What do you at this moment consider being successful? Not what others consider being successful but what do YOU consider being successful.
- Think about if this was your last day, what do you want the most important people in your life to say about you.
- Based on your definition or terms, this will help you develop goals in order to reach this definition or these terms of success.
- Once your goals have been reflected on and selected, your time must be allocated to reach those goals by creating small daily habits.
- Be sure to revisit your pyramid and building block goals often as a reminder and conduct self-evaluations as well.
What to do:
Develop your definition or terms of success + your goals + allocate time to your goals = YOUR SUCCESS (i.e. a lion)
What not to do:
Make your definition of success based on others’ definitions + your goals created based on other people’s’ beliefs + you wasting time = YOUR SUCCESS PREDICATED ON OTHERS (i.e. a gazelle)
Photo Credit:”The 50 best road trip songs of all time”, Timeout.com
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