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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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.

 

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

Life is like a box of chocolate

When I was younger, I watched the movie Forrest Gump. Like most people, the line the grabbed my attention was “my mama always said, Life is like a box of chocolate you never know what you are going to get”. Until recently, I did not agree with Mrs. Gump,  I believed that we could carve our destiny and future through hard work and dedication to our dreams.  Although I still believe in the ideals of setting your own path and that you are in control of your dreams, life has a way of carving a path you would never imagine for yourself.  Lately I have been dead focused on my career and success that I have imagined for myself. I have this high standard that I believe I must obtain to be successful and happy.  I have to lose so much weight, eat healthy, have a good career, make my parents proud, and so forth. Within all these goals to success, I forgot that these things will not truly contribute to my happiness. Being skinny with a great career will not keep me warm at night. Having a perfect life with the absences of laughing and people to share everything with is not true happiness.

True happiness comes from within. It is accepting our limitations while still pushing to be the best version of ourselves. It is finding someone who enjoys our imperfections and will eat pizza on a Friday night instead of someone who wants a perfect body.

Jerome Cole stated it best in the video below: minutes 10-11:30 and the end 22 till the end

http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/jcole-j-cole-interview-with-tavis-smiley-new-video.33108.html

I cannot tell you what life has in store for me each day. Life is truly like a box of chocolate. I never know what I am going to get day to day but at least I know it will be sweet, and at least I can look forward to a little bit of chocolate.

 

KP