Last week I came across an old diary entry, a list of aims I’d written in my early-twenties with all intent and purpose to fulfil by the time I turned thirty. And here I am – now 32! It was interesting to realize that whilst I may have partly achieved some of those aims, there was a significant short fall in some respects and it got me thinking of the topic – how does one measure success?
In today’s society we are regularly exposed to media influence that reiterates the idea of celebrity and fame equaling fortune and happiness. The newspapers and TV are filled with countless individuals who are young, attractive and living life to the maximum in various exclusive ways. It is easy to become obsessed with wanting ‘into’ that lifestyle and to begin to associate success with material status.
Within our social groups we may find ourselves frequently compared by job status, acquirement of material possessions and luxuries like travel and exclusive parties. We all have experience of knowing friends in high powered jobs with big bank accounts and luxurious lifestyles that may make our own successes feel insignificant. There will always be the beautiful girl that bagged herself an international modelling contract and a wealthy, handsome husband and ten homes. There will always be the man from humble beginnings who sold his dotcom company for millions and now enjoys champagne boat parties and countless women.
Yet we must remember that success should not be measured on ones material ability and lifestyle. To afford to travel around the world on a regular basis may appear to some as a symbol of ‘success’ as may having the latest collection of designer goods and jewels or a high flying international job. However, real success comes from honoring who we truly are and living our life in a happy way in accordance with that.
I personally know of some very materially successful people who appear from the outside to be living the life of glamour. Yet behind closed doors these particular individuals are plagued by various self-destructive tendencies such as alcoholism and drugs or are living in controlled and compromised situations that go against the grain of their morals. They may look to others like they’ve reached the ‘dream destination’ that we all strive toward. However if we were measuring their personal happiness, it was would a totally different story.
And that is one of the keys to understanding success.
Success is measured on the evolution of your soul experiences and how you both deal with and work through those experiences.
It is not about gaining material possessions in a way that compromises us and makes us lose sight of who we really are.
It’s about how happy and content you are within yourself and your life at this moment and loving what you do.
Realising these things and comparing my life now to my original ‘aims list by 30’, I can honestly say that yes, I’ve had real success so far. I’m in a happy place in myself and my life and I love what I do on a working level.
So the next time you begin to size up yourself and your life – don’t do so by comparing it to others and what they have materially achieved. Do it by being honest with yourself on how happy you are in your various life situations. Only then will you have your true measure of success.