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Monday, June 5, 2017

Define Success on Your Own Terms


“Your true success in life begins only when you make the commitment to become excellent at what you do.” —Brian Tracy

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” —John Wooden

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

Success, like happiness, is an individual pursuit. For years, we have been taught that success is all about making a lot of money. That is also what we have inadvertently taught our children and in turn, they too will pass on this folly 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 or Doctor, 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 success.

The result of this kind of narrow-minded 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 and are being forcefully imposed upon them. Just think about all the wealthy celebrities you know that have committed suicide or are fighting hard to recover from a drug addiction.

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 are struggling to make ends meet however, it is only natural to want a better life for yourself and your children. I would never encourage you to stop pushing yourself to earn enough to care for the needs of your family. But when your happiness and even the affection you have for your children is hinged solely on wealth or material possessions, I have to draw the line.


That being said, 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. Success achieved as a result of working hard at whatever you do.

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 daintily waltz about in your dreams every night. And no matter what obstacle presents itself, you will always keep telling yourself that you can’t stop and you won’t stop.

That kind of burning desire is what I call motivation. Motivation is the force that compels us to strive for success, helps us to unlock the full potential of our minds and keeps us continually focused on and committed to attaining our goals.  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. 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.

See you at the top!

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