Success is such a loaded word. It has meaning and weight.
Here are 14 simple truths about success.
- There is no shortage of people who will tell you what (they believe) success is. You don’t even need to look very far to find another definition of success – they’re everywhere.
- There are almost as many paths or blueprints to success as there are definitions. Lots of people out there are “selling success”. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars learning what other people believe the path to success to be. It may, or may not, work for you.
- Just because a pathway to success worked for someone else does not automatically mean it will work for you. Sometimes blueprints for success, in any area of life, are best applied to the author – not necessarily anyone else!
- Trying to be “successful” using someone else’s definition and blueprint/pathway can exhaust you. It can bankrupt you, in more ways than just financially. It can strip you of self-confidence. Sure, the opposite is what you were hoping would happen, and if you’re lucky, it will. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
- The traditional and accepted view of success (money, power, prestige) isn’t necessarily bad. It may be right for you, in some ways. But it is very limited, and often limiting.
- You get to define for yourself what success means for you. You can look at someone else’s definition of success and see its usefulness in their life – and still leave it behind when it comes to your own definition of success.
- My definition of success may be quite different to yours. That is perfectly okay. I don’t get to decide for you or anyone else, and neither do you.
- Your definition of success can change over time. It needn’t be cast in stone. At one time in your life, success may have been about acquiring material possessions and the outer symbols of conventional success. And now it may be about the quality of your relationships, and the choices you have with how you spend your time. Or any other of the almost limitless possibilities when it comes to defining success. Depending on what is happening in your life at any point in time, success may be managing to hold all of the strands together through the mayhem and challenges.
- We live in a world that glorifies “successful” people. We are surrounded and bombarded by messages about how great these people are, and by how great we’ll be if only we would do what they did.
- You never know what the lives of “successful” people are really like. Especially if they are celebrities. There is so much deliberate mystic conjured up about and surrounding success (and celebrity) that the truth about these people and the state of their lives (including their levels of happiness) can never truly be known. No matter what we hear them saying publicly, or how many red carpets we see them smiling on.
- Achieving success, in traditional terms, is no guarantee of happiness or healthy emotional wellbeing. You can look successful, in traditional terms, and be miserable. You can also be unsuccessful, in traditional terms, and be miserable. There just isn’t a consistent correlation between the traditional definition and trappings of success and happiness and healthy emotional wellbeing.
- Achieving success is not the same as receiving validation. You can receive the validation you need in many ways – by the contribution you make, by your commitment to excellence, by the kindness you display, by the blessing that simply being you is to others. None of which require success, in conventional terms.
- A focus on being or becoming successful can muss seriously with creativity. If there’s always a “success goal” or outcome in mind, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to let yourself go, luxuriate in the process and flow, and just enjoy what you’re doing no matter what happens or what the ‘outcome’ turns out to be (there may not even be an outcome when you’re luxuriating in the creative process).
- A focus on success often means an adversity to and intolerance of failure. We are learning now, through the work of pioneers who study this field, how important failure is to achieving anything, and to being creative in particular. We’re also learning new ways of looking at and defining failure – perhaps it doesn’t even really exist. But for many of us, we are strongly adverse to and intolerant of anything vaguely resembling failure. If we’re failing, we can’t be succeeding, right? And (we’re told over and over again) succeeding is the name of the game!