Success, the very word conjures up images of someone who is wealthy or famous or maybe someone who does very well in school or work. Or maybe it is someone who has a wonderful relationship with their spouse, parents or children. Or it could be someone in a combination of the above.
We live in a consumer-driven society and the culture we live in places a big emphasis on making money and defines success by how much we own. Advertising messages communicate that having certain luxury brands is the definition of success. So what makes one successful in this society? Is it hitting a specific income bracket or living in a specific zip code or driving a particular car model? But the question then arises is if success is only an outward manifestation or is it something deeper, something that is intrinsic to what is most important to us?
Every individual has their definition of success and what is important to them. While we need to do some things for the sake of earning an income, it is important to balance responsibilities with activities we enjoy doing. That means having enough free time to spend with people we love as well as time for practising self-care. For this to happen, we need to check if we can balance our lives to do what we enjoy doing and if not, what steps we can take to achieve a more balanced lifestyle.
One thing to be able to achieve that balance is to be secure and stable financially because while one need not be excessively wealthy to be happy, having a healthy bank balance will allow us to design our life in ways we want and a healthy bank balance will give financial stability that can mean success. What this means is that you need to figure out exactly how much you need to live a comfortable lifestyle and use that number to hit your financial goals.
Success is not all about what you do or don’t have. Someone who wants to live a life caring for others without being financially successful and achieves that is successful in their definition of success. Success is also not about big achievements, getting that ultimate promotion which will change all the time. Instead, think of success as small goals which are the ladders to the main big goal. These goals can be small, short-term wins which also give you the impetus to get to the larger goals.
Our definitions of success will change over time because our priorities change and what seemed important back then may become trivial now. Our values and needs evolve and with this, the definition of success will be revised and adjusted.
What is my version of success? It’s pretty simple actually. To me, I will consider myself successful if I am financially stable so that S and I can retire in peace, give my children a good upbringing and education and inculcate in them the values and character that make them excellent human beings and good citizens.
At the end of the day, success is being able to look at yourself in the mirror and feel good about the choices you’ve made. No person is without their mistakes, but you learn and grow through the process. Your version of success doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, but it must be a definition you feel good about and that is meaningful to you. Ultimately, the way that you define success will lead you toward living a more contented life that is aligned with your values.
What is your definition of success?