Redefining Success

Posted on July 6, 2011. Filed under: Spiritual Practice | Tags: , , , , , , |

Success.  It’s one of those things that we’re all striving to attain or achieve.  But what exactly is success?  How do you define it?

Certainly, success can have different meanings depending upon the context.  Financial success can be defined as a big house, nice car, the accumulation of pretty things or the freedom to travel and live as you choose.  Professional success might be defined as fame, respect from your peers, or achieving the top of the corporate ladder.  Personal success… what would that be defined as?  Being in control of your emotions?  A well-developed sense of self and personal acceptance?  A long-term relationship?

It seems to me that many, if not all, typical definitions of success contain an “external” factor.  Whether it’s the accumulation of wealth or accolades, success seems to involve, or at least include, something outside of ourselves.

I’d like to challenge those notions of success.  What if success were simply measured by our happiness?  How successful is your life, then?  Simple – not necessarily easy.

Most of us move through life picking up ideas that our behaviors create others’ happiness.  Getting good grades as kids “makes” our parents happy.  Working hard “makes” our bosses happy.  It’s true that those behaviors make someone else’s life easier, but that’s not really the same thing as making them happy.  And yet our parents and bosses fall victim to the same mistaken belief that someone or something outside of themselves is responsible for their happiness.  The cycle of mistaken belief continues.

If I’m responsible for someone else’s happiness, then it stands to reason that someone else is responsible for mine.

Can you see what a quandary this sets up?  How successful have you ever been at making someone else happy?  And how effective have the people and things in your life been at making you happy?

Whenever we set our sights on things outside of ourselves to make us happy, we’re bound to fail.  This is where our current definition of success falls short.  I can acquire uncountable wealth and accumulate myriads of treasure and still be miserable.  Would my life be deemed a success or not?  Is the point of life to accumulate things or to know and love one’s self?

I’ve come to value the knowing, loving and accepting of myself as infinitely more valuable than rooms and rooms full of “stuff.”  My happiness is paramount to my success as a soul in physical form.  By using my happiness as the benchmark to gauge my life and guide my decisions, I move closer and closer to embodying all of the possibilities that my life holds.  I step more fully into the divine, spiritual being that I truly am.  By choosing happiness, I bring God into my daily experience.

To me, THAT is a much more meaningful definition of a successful life.

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2 Responses to “Redefining Success”

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Well, said, Sue! I love your definition of success! You are infinitely successful, my friend!! ♥

Sue – I had to sit with this one. Twice “happiness” and its construction arrived in conversation and each time the concept was presented, I viewed it as a foreign concept.

I don’t tend to think about whether I am happy or not, I am more likely to ask myself – was I true today? True to my spirit.

In your reflection, I found many similariites. I do not bind myself to another for happiness – including family, nor to material items, financial accumulation or aspects of my creation. I understand that these are gifts.

I do like to play, laugh, love, create and feel joy from these acts…if this is God in action – Whoopie!


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