As we say goodbye to one year and look forward to the fresh canvas of another, looking back on 2017 I am struck with the amount of blogging and posting that has addressed success. It occurs to me that as we move forward in life, the definition of our success may change. When you are two years old, success means going a whole day without the - you know…”accident!” When you are 16 success might be defined as accomplishing your drivers license test. When you’re 35, perhaps it is holding your dream job. The definition of success continually changes and adapts as we grow, mature and evolve.
According to Dictionary.com. success is defined as the following:
1.) the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one's goals.
2.) the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3.) a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors.
4.) a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.
But are these definitions the ones we need to hold the line to? Do we need to live by these, or is a spirit that defies traditional definition, still a success?
The formal definition of success seems to lean heavily on variables of “the attainment of wealth, position, honors or the like.”
We are led to believe if we do not attain these preset “bars” we are unsuccessful, a failure. I challenge some of these definitions. It is my belief that success, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
What does each of us define as wealth? Being able to cover living expenses? Can a homeless person still have wealth? Or does it mean being millionaire-rich? Is wealth and rich the same thing?
Might you define success as the attainment of position? To one person perhaps that position is working up the corporate ladder to become a CEO, while to another, it might be finding contentment in your own home.
Honors. Awards. Kudos. Recognition. Do we live to achieve these? And what are they exactly? Is it the approval of others, acceptance by those who judge our successes what propels us to achieve? Can we enjoy wealth, position, and honors if it is defined by our own mind rather than being left to a judgement by society?
I think we can. It is my thought that living to be labeled by others as successful is an unhealthy and toxic way to prosper. Instead, would it not be beneficial to regard even the smallest and least consequential of accomplishments as your greatest success, if is within our own definition? Enjoy those moments as gifts to ourselves, whether the world is aware is not relative. It is a personal success we revel in.
Can we be brave enough to acknowledge our position in the world right now is exactly where we should be, that we are enough if we believe in ourselves, instead of waiting for someone else to legitimize our position, our success?
Honors….awards. The physical legitimization of our endeavors, this can make or break us. We look to be awarded and honored by our peers as a way of saying "we have arrived." We’re legitimate in success now that others we respect have acknowledged us. I ask; is that what we need to be successful, to have wealth beyond our needs, to attain position and honors?
In 2018 as our world becomes an ever-changing place to hang our hats and call home, before we look to others to accredit our successes, may we find success within our own contentment, living in our heart and soul. Look to each day with its quiet gifts so often unnoticed, appreciate the wealth of them, the modest honors of a job well done in your own eyes. That as you are today, right now, is enough. You are already a living breathing success, and the only person you have to please, is you.
Here’s to a successful year ahead!
Love to all!