Success, like happiness, is an individual pursuit. What does success mean? For years, we have been taught that success is all about making a lot of money. But now things are changing, some think of success as money but many are moving away from that definition. What definition does a dictionary give?
- the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
- the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
- a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors: The play was an instant success.
- a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.: She was a great success on the talk show.
As you can see the definitions aren’t just about money.
What we are taught
We were taught that success equals money and this is what we have inadvertently taught our children and in turn, they too will pass on the same to their children. You might never have heard your parents speak about success but isn’t it true that they often encouraged you to become a Lawyer, Doctor or enter into a similar profession, long before you were old enough to know what you are good at?
Why do you think this is the case? The prominence associated with these jobs may only be part of the reasons we subtly push our children in that direction. But for the most part, it is the money that they find attractive. Even if they or their children are accomplished within their respective areas of expertise but are struggling financially, they find it hard to regard this as a success.
The result of that teaching
The result of this kind of thinking is a society of people who are unhappy, depressed or underachieving because they are stuck in a career they hate or miserable because they can never live up to the unrealistic expectations set for them. Just think about all the wealthy celebrities you know that have committed suicide or are fighting hard to recover from an addiction of some sort, drugs, alcohol, painkillers etc.
While being stable or even well off financially is often the result of much diligence and hard work, it is not the only true measure of success. There is no real satisfaction from being rich if you do not truly enjoy what you do. If you overwork, are stressed and often ill due to a job that brings in a lot of money, that is not a good life.
If you are struggling to make ends meet however, it is only natural to want a better life for yourself and your children.
But when your happiness and even the affection you have for your children is hinged solely on wealth or material possessions, that is not a good place to be in.
What really makes a person successful?
Here is what some of the greatest minds of this century have to say on the matter.
- “Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”– Zig Ziglar
- “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” – Stephen Hawking
- “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill
As you can see, each one has their own opinions about the boundaries within which we define success. That is because success means totally different things to different people. In fact, even those with great wealth may not see themselves as successful. There is, however, one common theme in these sayings. Success is no accident, it is achieved as a result of working hard at whatever you do.
So how do you achieve success?
It is impossible to become successful by just doing enough to get by. Anyone can be average. If your aim is to be successful, you must have such a burning desire to be first, to do more or even to do better, that it pains you stop working towards these goals. Your aspirations should greet you every morning and have you leaping out of bed to get started on your day.
And no matter what obstacle or obstacles appear, you will always keep telling yourself that you can’t and won’t stop. That giving up is not an option.
You will believe, no matter what, in what you are doing and know without doubt (well maybe a tiny occasional one) that you are going to be successful. You will know that your work/job/business/career will be successful but that success will be defined by YOU. This is the right mindset to have for success.
That kind of burning desire is also known as motivation. It is the force that compels us to strive for success, helps us to unlock the full potential of our minds, keeps us continually focused on and committed to attaining our goals. Motivation is thus the universal key to success. It is impossible to have this kind of drive if you do not truly love what you do and if you are not confident enough to think you are able to do it well.
That is why it is so crucial for you to define success on your own terms. This is what I call your WHY! You have to know what your goals are and more importantly the reason you are doing it. When you get tired, when things don’t go well, when you are ready to give it all up, that is when your WHY will keep you going. It will take you that several steps further and past those feelings until you are once more riding the wave of self belief towards success.
Reach for your Dreams
No one else will make your dreams happen, they all have their own or are too busy wallowing in self pity at their miserable lives that are going nowhere. There are many that want a better life, that talk about success and how to achieve it but not so many that are prepared to make changes in their lives to achieve it.
If you want to reach for the stars, you and only YOU, can make it happen. If you have negative friends that try to dissuade you, then perhaps you need new friends.
Which achievement do you think is worth pursuing? Which accomplishment do you yearn to share with your children and grandchildren? That is the aspiration that will make you a success and you should never stop trying to make these dreams a reality. Realism is a very important aspect of being motivated to succeed.
Take those first steps. No one ever regretted the things they tried or did. Only the things they didn’t do or attempt.
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