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Success is the sort of thing that we dream about from an early age. We reflect upon the teachings of our elders and in most cases, we are encouraged to become successful in life. Exactly what level of success though, or what type of success we are encouraged to aspire to will differ depending upon the specifics of the environment that we grow up in.
Some people think that success has a direct relationship to the amount of money we earn, this is a common approach used by governments and the kind of people who measure the current state of our economies.
Other people approach the issue of success from the point of view of achievement, meaning they place more emphasis on reaching certain goals and aspirations. To other people though, true success only comes down to the amount of genuine happiness that you have in life and some others think it’s about your ability to love and be loved.
So, let’s take a fundamental look at the essence of success.
All Inclusive Success
Why does the characteristic of success differ from person to person? Quite simply, it’s because of different cultures, different backgrounds, and different lifestyles. People have different standards for their life.
The dictionary definitions of success are as follows:
- The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.
- A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc.
- The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
I’ve never been too fond of dictionary definitions. They often seem too restricted, too standard. To me success is something that goes far beyond the definitions outlined above, though yes it does also incorporate them.
For example, what good is success if I achieve my aims, attain wealth, fame, or social status etc., only to be unhappy at the end of it all? If we are to go along with the definition of success, as you can see above there is absolutely no mention of happiness or peace.
Could a life lived not be considered successful if one had attained to the state of true internal happiness and peace, and yet not accomplish any single one of the above outlined definitions? I think so, but I also think there is a bit more to the nature of success than most people realize and there is a certain degree of balance that must be maintained at the core of what true success really is.
A Truly Human Approach to Success
It is an undeniable fact that we are all human beings. Some might argue that some of us are more or less than human, but at the end of the day, each and every one of us has an obvious capacity to reach whatever heights and whatever depths the human organism is capable of reaching. Therefore, if we are to consider true success then we must take into account our capacity as human beings, on an individual level as well as on a collective level.
If we have not reached the limits of our capability, how on earth can we consider ourselves to be successful human beings? Should we not postpone reaching the heights of success until we have fully unlocked our human potential, fully understood ourselves, and taken ourselves to the highest possible heights and even the lowest depths.
When considering that a large portion of the very planet we are on has yet to be explored, and the fact that there are still so many aspects to our own bodies, brains and minds that we do not understand, what good is it to call ourselves successful at a point where there is so much still left to explore and discover?
And that might just be the point of true-success.
It is the human capability to continue striving to better understand ourselves. If we still consider ourselves as having the ability to learn, to grow, to achieve more, to understand more, to love more, to evolve further, to explore beyond what we have already explored, in other words – if we consider true success to be the continual development of ourselves individually and collectively then we have understood the essence of what true success really is.
It is the undeniable fact that humans have an infinite amount of potential that can be evolved and developed. In my eyes, and the eyes of anyone that wants to continue along this trajectory, success is an ongoing thing that not only includes all of the characteristics we have spoken about here, but of so many more things that have yet to be discovered and mastered.
If you are exploring your capabilities, evolving yourself, learning more, growing, and loving more, then you are already successful regardless of what you have attained up to this point. All you have to do is continue the great work of the human spirit and naturally the successes of life will come to you and they will never, ever stop.
Do You Believe You Deserve Success?
Many people in this world have a very low opinion of themselves. This is a very unfortunate fact, but it comes from the primitive methods of information, education, and self-understanding that the majority of cultures still employ. Not only do these people tend to have low opinions of themselves but they also tend to have just as low opinions and beliefs about the rest of humanity.
They are trapped in a bottomless pit of self-destructive and environmentally unfriendly views that not only limit themselves but also inadvertently attempt to, and sometimes successfully, limit the lives of the people that they encounter.
This kind of attitude can be considered a destructive and degenerative disease that spreads itself through the minds of those who make up the majority of our planetary society.
So, what can we do about this? Well, in terms of a large-scale approach, there is not much we can do for the rest of the world. This disease is so deeply embedded into the minds of those that it corrupts that it is better left alone to fester and destroy those who harbor it and protect it as if they were protecting their very own lives. However, as individuals who want to overcome such a limited and destructive mindset there are a great deal of things we can do about this.
The fundamental approach that we have to take is to know ourselves at the deepest possible level. What does this mean? Some people mistakenly think that it means to know the kind of person that we are, or know the things we like and the things we don’t like.
It doesn’t mean this at all. It does in fact mean to completely and without doubt understand every single aspect of our lives, our capabilities, our strengths, and our weaknesses, our capacity to grow, to change, to evolve, to develop and become something more than what we already are.
The point we need to get back to is in the belief about whether or not you believe you deserve success.
Take It From Someone Who Knows
I’m not going to focus on why some of you don’t believe you deserve true success. I have heard it all before, and I know that some of you genuinely have such a low opinion of yourselves that you honestly think either you don’t deserve it, or that you are incapable of it. I’m here to tell you quite simply that you are wrong.
I do want to tell you one thing though. There is something about yourself that you don’t know. There is something about the deep and fundamental essence of your nature that you have failed to, as of yet to understand.
So, my question to you is this, Do You Want To Believe That You Do Deserve Success?
If your answer is no, then what on earth are you doing reading this article? If your answer is yes, and I’m sure that many of you do want to believe this then I will give you a hint.
How do you do that? Careful and continuous self-exploration and honest, sincere, and dedicated hard work and effort in the application of self-awareness and self-discovery.
The breadcrumbs have been laid out in front of you. All you have to do is pick them up and follow the trail.
The Many Shades And Flavors Of Success
Success is defined by Webster’s dictionary as…
a: degree or measure of succeeding
b: favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
Have you ever stopped to think about how successful you really are? For some reason, many people envision success around work and money, but what about all the other successes that we achieve throughout our lifetimes?
If we consider just one part of the definition above, favorable or desired outcome, we can see that even today we probably had achieved numerous little successes that we overlooked.
Perhaps, you were able to complete a report at work, or a school paper. Maybe your husband sent you flowers just because. Maybe your kid told you she loved you because you are the best mom.
These are all favorable outcomes that result from our own efforts.
Effort And Achievement
Whenever we put effort into something and we achieve, it should be considered a success. We don’t have to build a Bill Gates empire to consider ourselves successful.
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” – Henry David Thoreau
How about personal success? Consider for a moment how you live your life. Do you take good care of yourself? If so, then there is another great success you have achieved that certainly eludes many people.
How many times a day or a week do you actually succeed without every thinking or planning to do so, it just is who you are. Perhaps, being who you are makes for success in its own right.
For example, perhaps a good friend needs help and you drop everything to be there, this can surely be considered a success, as there is nothing more important than being there for the people we care about.
Likely, there are numerous achievements that you are able to attain throughout your week that you barely notice? Why is that? Would it not serve your emotional and psychological wellness to do so? Sure, it would.
Sometimes we just fail to see the big picture, which is that the little things we accomplish every day are our greatest successes.
Success stories are plentiful in the financial and business world, but how often do you have media coverage of the single mom who put two kids through college or the daughter who gives up her personal life to care for an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s.
It’s time to stand up and take notice of all that you do, every single day that makes you a success. Consider all the different shades and flavors of success in your own life, and celebrate them!
The Many Shades And Flavors Of Success
- Setting and following through on a fitness plan
- Being a loving and supportive parent
- Raising responsible kids
- Eating healthy
- Taking good care of your mind, body and spirit
- Being a good friend
- Looking out for an elderly neighbor
- Taking good care of your family
- Being a responsible citizen
- Being a good friend
- Working a full time job and still coming home to cook dinner and do homework with kids
- Forgiving someone that wronged you
- Introducing a friend to her future husband
- Being honest when it’s hard to do so
- Saying sorry when it’s really hard to do so
- Being your real self and living an authentic life
- Sticking with goals you set
- Giving your time and being of service
All of these are just a few examples of the many shades and flavors of success.
So, the next time you consider success in your own life, realize that big dreams and long-term goals are great, but there are many shades and flavors of success, and they all have value and meaning.