Defining success (or failure)

How do you define success?

Happy New Year! The festive season is drawing to a close and we’ve been wishing each other a safe, happy and successful new year.  It’s a lovely sentiment but what does it actually mean for you?

Have you ever tried to define success? It’s an elusive target and it means different things to different people. And success today may not be success tomorrow. Life’s like that. Our journey to success isn’t linear and our destination can change, perhaps several times along the way.

Is failure the opposite of success or a necessary milestone along the way? Is it true that we only fail when we give up? Or does it make sense to re-evaluate our results and accept that we can give up on something that no longer makes sense, or that we have proven to be impossible? What value can be derived from continuing to strive towards a goal that we know to be no longer of value to us?

There are no absolutes in success or failure – they only exist in terms of perspective. For a professional golfer, falling below the top 10 ranking in the world may be massive failure. For me, just getting the ball on the green is success. The external judgement of the result may be absolute but our reaction to it may not be. In fact, one person’s failure may be another’s success. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Here’s my belief of how we may define, find or perhaps accept our journey to success:

Know yourself. Know what is truly important for you and seek this independent of the good graces of others. Be connected to your family and others in a meaningful way.

Have the freedom to do the work you love and that which provides meaning in your life.

Be aware of the needs of others and don’t focus solely on your own existence.

Enjoy health and happiness. Find love. Seek self acceptance, wellness and gratitude. Leave others better than you find them. Take responsibility for yourself.

Seek wisdom. Wisdom brings happiness, fulfilment and contentment.

Reject the need to satiate the desires of your ego. Don’t judge yourself on what others value.  Success comes from within.

Define your success by what you most value. If that’s material gain and that brings you peace, happiness and wellbeing then believe in what you value and follow that path. If it’s teaching, giving and helping others then follow that path. Neither path should lead to guilt or a sense of superiority.

Know your mind and what is important to you. These are the markers of a successful life.

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