How do you define success?

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."

How do you define success? A personal question asked so infrequently but one that is critical to attaining success. Many motivated people are so fearful of losing time while chasing goals that they never take a moment to ponder what success means to them. In turn they risk losing what brings happiness in the process of going for "it". I urge you to ask, what is success to YOU.

Don't lose control of your happiness.

If you are unable to answer this question easily, chances are you are stuck in a version of the "rat race" or "competing with the Joneses". It's easy to let society determine what success should look like for you; earning a college degree, starting a career, marriage, and to keep checking off the boxes of life. Life becomes viewed as if it was a pre-flight checklist that we all must pass. While some of these may be great steps towards your success; they are not in themselves the answer. Success is what will bring you happiness. By placing the image of success in other people's hands you lose control of YOUR happiness.

Who do you think is happiest?

Ask yourself, who is happiest? - The man with the fortune to do anything he pleases but lacks time to the point of sleep exhaustion; or the man who sacrifices his potential fortune to send his children to college or institutes an annual family trip. The answer isn't always the same for everyone and it is possible to have it all. The real question then becomes, 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 as personal success, you enter yourself into a race you may not need or want to be in. As a result you are left with a feeling of emptiness and find happiness to be a fleeting ideology reserved for fairy tales. There is a story of a man who wanted to accomplish nothing else but retire, become a ski instructor, live on a ski resort, and share all of this with his family. He became blind to nothing else but this 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, purchase his dream home on the ski resort and was a well reviewed 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 was truly valued in his pursuit to win a race that he never wanted to enter.

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 other goals. Only by defining success can you attain it. For some it is to have security, for others it is to live each moment with spontaneous passion. What ever your success is: go after it with every breath that you have.

What do you define as success? Use Contact to let me know your answer.

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