What is Success?

Success is a concept that each person within society is constantly trying to achieve. It is the hopes and dreams of every parent for their children to be successful and happy. It is woven into our character, and helps society define our worth, but what is success? More importantly, how do we obtain success?

The most common definition of success as defined by the internet and various dictionaries are the following: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; the attainment of popularity or prosperity; and a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

While I do not disagree that success is strongly linked to obtaining accomplishments. The definition that is provided by so many dictionaries directly link success with monetary accomplishments, name recognition, power, and status within society. Although most of society may consider those definitions the true definition of success, personally these definitions seem incomplete or not truly encompassing success as a whole.

This lead me to research what is success defined by individuals that society consider successful.  How do “successful” people define the concept of success?

Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, stated in her book entitled Thrive that society “tends to think of success along two metrics — money and power — we need to add a third”. She states that the third is more like a multi-branch pillar that contains “well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving”.  Success includes this last multi-branch pillar because to be successful, one truly needs to thrive and attend to their psychological well being as well as the role society creates for them.

According to the inspiring writer Maya Angelou, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” She explains that success is sought through obtaining happiness within the decisions and paths that you have taken as an individual, and the enjoyment we find in it.

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra believes that success is a matter  of constant growth. He states in his book, “success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.”

Unlike the three previous success stories that focus on the psychological well being of an individual, many others focus on the drive or path to success. Winston Churchill stated “success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” It is being relentless in your future and never giving up on your end goal.

Like Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison focused on the work to obtain success rather than what defines a successful person. He’s definition “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” He focused on constantly putting in the effort to reap the benefit.

I saved my personal favorite definition of success for last.  According to legendary basketball coach John Wooden, success comes from competition within ones self rather than competition with others. Wooden stated “success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming”. His idea of success comes from self fulfillment and goals of success that is set by the individual.

The common theme that is universal in each of these successful individuals definition is success comes from self awareness. Regardless if it is self fulfillment, hard work, continual self growth, relentless efforts, self love, or altruistic service to others; the key to success comes from within.  It is one thing to be successful to others, but the bigger obstacle is to truly gain success within the strict defines that we place upon ourselves.

I have not yet became the successful person that I would love to become, but I am proud of my progress and my relentless efforts to gaining success. Remember you are only more successful than the person you were yesterday.

Success lies within the heart, soul, and mind of the beholder.

 

 

 

 

It’s Okay not to be Okay

We live in a society that views people’s happiness and strength with being successful.  From a young age boys are taught not to cry because they will be perceived as weak or girly. Young girls are taught to be truly equal we must reel in our feelings, and show less emotion.  Society forces us to make everything seem okay. Do not get mad, upset, overreact, and to always remain calm. Do not express emotion.

If you have a job that pays well, you should be overjoyed that you are not one of the others not employed. You should be grateful, even if you hate your job.  Simply we are taught to be grateful and suppress.

But truly, It  is fine to be unhappy. To want more out of life. It is okay to hate yourself for not living up to your potential. It is okay to cry because it feels right. To hate your six figure job because it does not make you happy.  Its okay not to be okay.

 

Wealthy Person living Broke

It has been widely debated and a topic of interest the difference between being broke and being poor.  The topic never seemed to interest me much until someone referred to my life style as poor. Within the context of the conversation the person was asking questions about paying for a rental property.  To save space and time, he simply told me that my lifestyle was that of a poor person. My simply reply was my lifestyle is far from poor, I actually live a full and wealthy life.

I will not deny that I am a broke young adult that some how some way seem to make my bills each month, but I am far from poor.  Referring to oneself as poor digs deeper than having a lack of money or material items. Referring to yourself as poor is accepting that there is a social class distinction that is inescapable. There is no way out of the predicament.

As a broke person, you admit that you do not have money. The monetary means that other people are privileged to indulge with, but there is a way to change your status.  It declares that ones decisions, will, desire, and hard work can change the outcome.

So many broke people live wealthy lives because they have the means to live comfortably within their means. Being poor are the people who will never be able to push past their circumstance to a better outcome. People within third world countries that will never receive the comfort or convenience, these people are poor by circumstance.  They never get the opportunities that are given to many people in developed countries.  I am broke but I have doors opening and opportunities knocking each day.  This is the life of a wealthy person living on a broke girl’s budget. Knowing the difference is key.

We Are Built to Follow

I recently watched a video that explained and tested the theory of inclusion.  The reality that as a social animal we are built to naturally follow the herd. We are built to want to be included within the group, to not be the outcast.  This is the reason we conform. We conform to feel included. To simply not be excluded.

After watching the video, I could not help but question my own position on life and breaking the norm. I would love to say that I step outside the norm and the roam free from the herd, but am I just following another herd or am I actually independent.

The reality is I am somewhere in between. I did not take a full day to analyze the complexity of the situation, instead I came to a simply assumption.  The important take away from the video came to something quite simple.

Its important to feel included. Inclusion and feeling wanted is within our nature.  At some point our survival depends on others and the social connections we keep. On the same notion, its okay to feel connected to the people, but to be a part of a group and conform without questioning anything that feels wrong is not.  There should never be a time that you do not question something that does not sit well or make sense to who you believe you are.  Being able to stand up and go against the norms when the time is right is what makes us more human and less animal.  Simply everything is a balance, and its finding the balance that is most important part of being human.

Random Compliments

People often forget the power of words. Everyday we spew millions of words via our mouths or through our writing, but often forget the impact that these words have on others.  Each and everyone of us have the power to make or break some ones day through our words and actions.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of trying on my bridesmaid dress for a wedding that I will be a part of in June. To be honest, the whole experience tore down my confidence and positive self image.  It was overall a terrible experience that instantly put a damper on my day.

After leaving the bridal shop, I went food shopping with my beloved mother. To put it in perspective, I do not resemble my mother overall. She is a blond, has blue eyes, high cheek bones, and the greatest dimples.  As we enter the super market, this random stranger turned to my mother and said “Your daughter is beautiful, I am assuming that its your daughter based on the age difference, and the fact that you both have same cheek bones, widow’s peak, and larger set eyes”.

After the shock wore off the she was in fact talking to my mother and I, we replied that we do not get told we look alike often due to our drastic complexion difference and due to the fact that most of my features are direct matches to my father. Afterward the lady repeatedly told me how naturally gorgeous I was, and that its a shame that more people don’t openly compliment my looks.  Naturally I thanked her repeatedly, and continued shopping.

Now although the compliments was more than generous, the moral of the story is that this random stranger restored my lost confidence. She spread a little joy unknowingly. She had no idea about my day, but happened to change my bad mood instantly.

Every day, each and every person holds this great power. The power to uplift another person. We may not know what people are going through and the internal battles of each person we encounter, but we truly have the ability to bring a small glimpse of joy to others. Despite the world being full of negative people and actions, each of us have the ability to bring hope, joy, kindness, understanding, and honesty to other people.  Give a random compliment to a stranger. It might just make someone’s day or outlook. It might just change your outlook.

The Best Times of Your Life

When your in High school, people constantly tell you that you are going to miss these days. You are going to get to the real world and long for the simply days back in high school. For the longest time I felt that those were going to be the days when I sit back and long to be next to my locker, going from class to class, and only worrying about my perfect grades.

If I fast forward to today, I cannot say that I miss high school and long to go back to those days. I do not have a sob story about being bullied or anything drastic, but those were not what I would consider the “good times”. In High school I was within the top ten percent of my class, had a ton of  friends, a job paying higher than minimum wage, and a bright future.  It seems like the perfect blissful teenage years. With that said although I had a perfect teenage experience, I never long to return to those days.

I would never want to return to my old mindset or the truth that I believed in those days. Now that I am entering into my mid twenties, I have discovered myself. I have truly become the person that I was always meant to be. I stopped worrying about the shoe brands I wear, the purse that I carry, or the designers that I should be wearing.  I recognize the value of one true friend rather than 5 average acquaintances.

When I was younger I did not always spread love and understanding. I needed to have validation for my good deeds and things I have done well. I always looked to others to define me. My personality was shaped by the person I was hanging out with. I molded myself to fit others rather than staying true to myself. My life was dictated by others and controlled by the expectations set by society. Society defined me. My class rank defined my intelligence, the clothing I wore defined my worth, how many friends I had defined my popularity, I was defined by material objects.

My understanding of the world around me has changed drastically within the past few years. I have become awakened to my surroundings. I have my peace of mind. Others do not shape the perception I have of myself. I truly love myself. I love my small close knit group of friends. I love clearance rack clothing that was not created by a big name designer. I love my in depth knowledge of politics and research. I love understanding the world around me, and being able to learn something new on a daily basis.

The truth is when I am old and grey I am going to want to return to my twenties, at the time I become free. I might struggle, life is not blissful without real responsibility, but I am truly free. I am within the best times of my life, and I plan to make them worth remembering.  My advice is that life truly begins when you stop focusing on others expectation and become the person you truly want to be. This will become the time in your life that you will deeply cherish because you will be your truest self.