Define Success on Your Own Terms
“Your true success in life begins only when you make the
commitment to become excellent at what you do.” —Brian Tracy
“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become
the best that you are capable of becoming.” —John Wooden
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you
haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
Success, like happiness, is an individual pursuit. For years, we
have been taught that success is all about making a lot of money.
That is also what we have inadvertently taught our children and in
turn, they too will pass on this folly to their children. You might
never have heard your parents speak about success but isn’t it
true that they often encouraged you to become a Lawyer or
Doctor, long before you were old enough to know what you are
Why do you think this is the case? The prominence associated
with these jobs may only be part of the reasons we subtly push
our children in that direction. But for the most part, it is the money
that they find attractive. Even if they or their children are
accomplished within their respective areas of expertise but are
struggling financially, they find it hard to regard this as success.
The result of this kind of narrow-minded thinking is a society of
people who are unhappy, depressed or underachieving because
they are stuck in a career they hate or miserable because they
can never live up to the unrealistic expectations set for and are
being forcefully imposed upon them. Just think about all the
wealthy celebrities you know that have committed suicide or are
fighting hard to recover from a drug addiction.
While being stable or even well off financially is often the result of
much diligence and hard work, it is not the only true measure of
success. There is no real satisfaction from being rich if you do not
truly enjoy what you do. If you are struggling to make ends meet
however, it is only natural to want a better life for yourself and
your children. I would never encourage you to stop pushing
yourself to earn enough to care for the needs of your family. But
when your happiness and even the affection you have for your
children is hinged solely on wealth or material possessions, I have
to draw the line.
That being said, what really makes a person successful? Here is
what some of the greatest minds in this world have to say on
“Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is
in us, becoming all that we can be.”– Zig Ziglar
“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you
can do and succeed at.” – Stephen Hawking
“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill
As you can see, each one has their own opinions about the
boundaries within which we define success. That is because
success means very different things to different people. In fact,
even those with great wealth may not see themselves as
successful. There is, however, one common theme in these
sayings. Success is no accident. Success is achieved as a result of working hard at whatever you do.
It is impossible to become successful by just doing enough to get
by. Anyone can be average. If your aim is to be successful, you
must have such a burning desire to be first, to do more or even to
do better, that it pains you stop working towards these goals. Your
aspirations should greet you every morning and daintily waltz
about in your dreams every night. And no matter what obstacle
presents itself, you will always keep telling yourself that you can’t
stop and you won’t stop.
That kind of burning desire is what I call motivation. Motivation is
the force that compels us to strive for success, helps us to unlock
the full potential of our minds and keeps us continually focused on
and committed to attaining our goals. Motivation is thus the
universal key to success. It is impossible to have this kind of drive
if you do not truly love what you do and if you are not confident
enough to think you can do it well. That is why it is so
crucial for you to define success on your own terms. Which
achievement do you think is worth pursuing? Which
accomplishment do you yearn to share with your children and
grandchildren? That is the aspiration that will make you a success
and you should never stop trying to make these dreams a reality.
Realism is a very important aspect of being motivated to succeed.
The next chapter is designed to help you stay motivated by
teaching you to set realistic goals.
To be continued…