Article in brief: the author explores the definition of success and invites the reader to visit a new perspective.
Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. As we grow we learn to associate success with the approval in our parents’ tone of voice, their smiles and body language when we do something well. When we start school we learn to measure it by the grades on our report card or by the cheers and applause of an audience when we perform well in a sports activity, play or dance.
As we move on from the academic to the professional world, success takes on different measures and means different things whether it’s the next promotion, the car we drive, the brands of clothing and jewelry we wear or the address we live at. We start measuring achievement with stuff that we can show as visual displays of our accomplishments and the lifestyle we lead. With the pursuit of this comes the pressure to move to the next milestone, be it a bigger house, a more expensive car, a higher educational qualification or a higher position in the organization we work for. Some might argue that this pressure is self-inflicted and it is this same drive that fuels people to continue to innovate, break records and explore new frontiers. Some might call this ambition others call it greed. It doesn’t really matter what you call it; what matters is what you feel as you travel this path and whether or not you feel successful?
The media has often shared stories of successful people who are unhappy, battling depression and addictions and tragically ending their lives despite having all the materialistic displays associated with success. The truth is despite being successful in the eyes of society, quite often that feeling of being successful is missing and instead it comes with high levels of stress, negative feelings of scarcity, under achievement, and self-limiting beliefs of not being good enough or having done enough. Quite often the reason behind this disconnection goes back to the definition of success, “accomplishment of a purpose”. Purpose could be anything from a mother whose purpose is to love and nurture her children to a scientist whose purpose is to test theories or a devout person who might be seeking spiritual growth in prayer.
It is in the knowledge of what one’s life purpose is and the pursuit of that, which brings success. Look at examples of successful people in various walks of life; they are the ones who pursue their life purpose with passion. They are the ones’ who are able to combine what they do for a living and what they were born to do, and it is the combination of the two of these that leads to success. When living a life that is in line with their purpose all negative feelings dissipate leaving only the joy of accomplishment and being aligned with one’s self.
Having this awareness is important as people often pursue what they think success should be; and when fears of failure or disapproval set in, they often become disconnected from their true passion, living an unfulfilled life. The true pursuit should be towards the feeling of success associated with identifying one’s life purpose and doing what they were born to do. When the journey is in line with your true calling and you have made a life out of living on “purpose” that is the realization of a dream; that is success.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best “To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
Sarah is an award-winning entrepreneur, business development specialist, life coach, writer, banking and investments professional with over 15 years of experience. She is the co-founder of the award-winning firm Infin8Ventures. Through her column, she hopes to re-ignite the dreamer in all of us and inspire us to make those dreams a reality.