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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

Everything Happens For A Reason

I often use the phrase that there is a place for everything and everyone in our life. Through work, I was fortunate enough to meet the sweetest lady. This lady was the definition of resilience and hope. She was diagnosed with end stage breast cancer, and told she had 1-3 weeks left to live.

Like most people I am found of a good tear jerking story about the life and struggles of the terminally ill, but reading and watching these stories are nothing in comparison to living through the experience. This lady was in her mid nineties, married for seventy years to the same man that helped her to bed every night, and had a happy life. It is the same story told repeatedly time after time.

Well this lady did not live only 1-3 weeks, but stayed with all of us for 6 months, and I learned more about life and death within these six moths than a young millennial will ever need to learn.  Everyday I watched this woman die a little more, suffer a little more, hold on to every form of life she could.

Everyday she would tell me how she lived a good life, and God gave her an amazing life therefore she will never question why she was terminally ill. She told me that life is too short to be mad at people, to misunderstand people, too hold onto feelings and emotions. She told me every night to chase my dreams because no one will ever do it for me. Each time I talked to her, I knew she was placed into my life for a reason. She was there to save me from myself. To be the constant reminder that I do not only make a difference in her life, but I also touch so many people directly and indirectly daily without ever realizing. That a kind word or a gentle hand squeeze makes a world of a difference to people.

One day about four months before her death, I sat on her floor holding her hands. She asked about the expectation leading up to death. I carefully explained the process, and gave her my input. She cried. I cried. We both held each other knowing that we would be parting soon. That night I promised her that I would be there through the process. I would hug her and kiss her cheek. Hold her hand. I would tell her each night regardless of her state of mind to “sleep like a baby” like I have done every night up to this point. Sadly I was only able to give her six months of wishing her to sleep like a baby.

About a week ago this wonderful lady decided that she was ready. She was tired of pretending that every day was a normal day. She was done defying time and her illness.  She was done living only to keep her husband’s heart from breaking. She was tired of living through pain and discomfort and only enjoying life minimally. She stopped eating and drinking on her own accord, and requested comfort medications to remain pain free.  Than came the night she was barely responsive. As I administered her comfort medications, her daughter informed me that she has not spoken or responded to much for the past six hours. I bent over her kissed her forehead, squeezed her hand, and whispered in her ear “sleep like a baby”. She gently pressed her fingers against mine, and weakly replied “I’m going to miss you telling me that every night. I love you”.

Her spirit and soul left earth the following afternoon.

I learned  the inevitability of life is death, but why fear death when there is a life to live. If you worry too much about what’s ahead, you will never be able to enjoy what is in front of you right now. Life does not need to be perfect to be a good life, you only have to enjoy it. I cannot thank this wonderful woman for everything she taught me. I may stray away from my purpose in life at times, but I never will take life for granted anymore. She has taught so many things that would take at least six months to explain, but the most important lesson was that people and things are placed in our lives for a reason.  This lady and I was placed together for so many reasons. She told me everyday that I taught her so much about empathy and compassion that has no limits, about the normalcy of death, and that sometimes placing a fake smile is easier than explaining every bad moment. She taught me about life, sharing it with people, to never question fate, to stop and smell the roses, eat the chocolate, and to love without condition. I taught her about death and masking emotions, she taught me about life and being content with the cards dealt.  I will carry her story and a little piece of her with me no matter where life takes me. My life is forever changed.

 

Kindness does not need Validation

So I recently discovered a pet peeve of my own, and decided to share. My older sister lives in a secured building. The building is an income based apartment complex.  The guards that are employed are all there regularly, and start to build relationships with the tenants and regular guests. Although I could probably give a thousand stories about these wonderful guards, this will probably be the first and last.  One of the regulars always bring in extra snacks and food for the kids that live in the building.  Honestly he gave me more hope in humanity. As I was leaving one day, we happened to start talking because after I cleaned snow off my car, a little kid came over to my car and offered to help clean it off for a small fee.  Although the kid asked for two bucks and could not even reach halfway up my car, I allowed him to help me clean off the car and in reward I bought him a hot chocolate and gave him the change from a twenty dollar bill.  Before I left that guard asked if I was going to take a picture with the kid or post about the occurrence on social media. After talking with this guard for a while, I found out that he takes pictures of his “good deeds”, and has gained followers and recognition from his actions.

This man openly said that he loves all the positive feedback and it pushes him to do “more”. I love that he is helping others, but I could not help but question his motives. Does he perform random acts of kindness just to gain more followers and more likes?

The sad part is that the more that I think about the subject, I have realized that it has became a trend. People perform these great acts of kindness, but seem to post about the occurrence, video the “random act”, or take pictures with the people they helped. Why do people need others to validate their actions? Why has this become a trend?

Personally, I probably will never understand the need for validation. On a daily basis, I perform tasks that are thankless and goes without ever being noticed by anyone.  Being a good person does not need validation. Being a kind human and treating everyone like they are important does not need others approval or acknowledgment.  My satisfaction is knowing that each day I make a difference in this big world, no matter how small!

So I have a challenge to anyone willing to hear my rants. Go out and perform random acts of kindness, even if it is as small as giving a compliment to a stranger. Just one small random act of kindness can improve your day and your overall attitude as well as will help others.

Make today great for your self and others. Put out good vibes and always remember everyone is fighting their own battles.

Until next time!

-KP

Love is Love: Raising Children

Recently, I was discussing with a group of coworkers about the fact that I am currently not interested in pushing out a baby.  Before I continue I am not against having children, but as of right now children are not in the cards for me. So to continue on with the story.  Everyone in the group chuckled and told me that I will most likely going have a kid, and we started discussing how raising children in modern society is a huge task, and some of the harsh realities of society today.  During this conversation, my supervisor stated “KP, you must not want children because you would dread the day when your son tells you he is gay, I mean look at all these homosexual and transgender children nowadays.”

At first, I was a little upset at the fact that my supervisor thought I was closed minded. I was also shocked that he assumed that when I talked about how modern society has destroyed the traditional childhood experience he thought I was referring to subjects such as the above.  This statement plagued me that entire night because deep down inside when I really thought about it he was absolutely right.

I consider myself open minded, but I would be completely mortified if my son came home and sat me down to tell me he is attracted to men.  I would feel that I failed as a parent.  I failed to show my son the right way to live life.  The plain and simple truth is my son should not have to sit me down and have a conversation about the person he loves or is attracted to.  He should not have to declare to me or anyone else who he is as a person.  He should not have to “come out of the closet”.  As a parent I would want my son to causally introduce me to his boyfriend without forewarning me of his gender.  I would want to raise my son to know that love is love no matter what.  I want to have that relationship with my children, where my son comes home gushing to me about his latest crush regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, or any other factor that separates all of us individuals within the human race.  Simply I would want my son or daughter to live a life that resembles their true personality, and to have children that never need to worry about the negative connotations in society regarding love and sexuality.

Moral of the story, my supervisor was right in all the wrong ways.  I am not afraid for my kids to be different from the norm, I am afraid to be a mother that raise children who think that being different or loving the same gender or a different race is not acceptable. I want them to grow up in a household that shows them that love is love no matter what, and I will be more than thrilled to meet person they decide to share their heart with. To my future children (although honestly I am okay with not having any devils) never fear that I will be closed minded and love whomever your heart desires.