Defining Success

Defining SuccessEveryone wants to be successful, right? Some people appear to be extremely driven and ambitious. Others hope that somehow success will happen if they are good and/or lucky enough. Some people are genuinely content. And some people live in such a state of complacency or defeat that they dare not allow a tiny bubble of hope to rise to the surface of their consciousness. But just because they suppress it that does not mean in their heart of hearts, they do not desire it. It’s human nature. If you are a human being on planet earth, you want your version of success.

What is success?

A Lear jet and a Bentley, a house with a white picket fence and a Camry in the garage, or a cozy apartment and dinner in the oven?

What about success in relationships? Is a successful relationship one that has endured a certain length of time, or been able to overcome adverse circumstances or one in which there is an absence of arguing/drama?

There are over seven billion people in the world and perhaps as many definitions of success. There is no wrong answer to the question “How do you define success?” There is no wrong answer, that is, as long as we understand that success is just another word for happiness. The whole point of being successful at anything is the feeling of satisfaction that ensues.

Happiness matters

We all want to be happy. It’s the bond that we all share. It is the essence of the human spirit. Even in people who do not feel worthy, the desire to be happy (whether acknowledged or unacknowledged) is ever-present.

If you freely and unapologetically pursue your own happiness, that’s great! You’re a true master. Read no further. However, the fact is some people either 1) do not realize the importance of being happy or 2) we do not feel we deserve happiness. Perhaps we were “programmed” to believe that it is somehow selfish or immoral, or that it is noble to sacrifice our happiness. Maybe no one modeled happiness for us in our childhood. We were never taught that seeking our definition of happiness (not someone else’s) should be our top priority.

Perhaps this is the perfect time for you to realize that it is your right, and indeed your duty, to be happy. The Constitution of the United States of America declares “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

If those words have been hollow for you up until this moment, stop right now and let their meaning sink in. You have the right to pursue happiness, so why spend time wondering if you should be?

Success equals happiness

You deserve happiness by virtue that you are alive. You owe it to yourself and everyone in your life to do the work of identifying anything that is holding you back from experiencing success and happiness. If you are hanging on to guilt, let it go. Atone for what you’ve done to cause harm to another to the best of your ability, forgive yourself, and move on. If it is unwarranted guilt for something that is not actual wrongdoing or a transgression against another, the only smart choice you can make is to resolve to put this burden down now. Only you can determine what is getting in the way of your happiness, and only you have the power to change it.

Don’t make your happiness someone else’s responsibility. The most ethical and healthy action we can take is to be responsible for how we feel. It is the only thing we can control. Examine how you are honestly feeling. Consult your pastor, priest, or spiritual healer. See your doctor, nutritional consultant, or personal trainer. Go fishing. Sign up for those dance classes. Take meaningful actions towards your real estate career. Call your friends. Talk to your mentor.

We are all deserving of success and happiness in life. Feel the magic of being alive, sense your awesome power, and strive to be happy.

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