“If a man wakes up in the morning, goes to bed at night, and in
between does exactly what he wanted, that’s success” ~ Bob Dylan
What does “Success” looks like for you? Seriously, what does this word truly mean to you?
Perhaps it means living in a five bedroom house, and driving a big, fancy car chock full of bells and whistles; you know like a GPS, rear view cameras and maybe even one of those strategically placed video players, the kind that distract the kids long enough to keep them from killing each other on the weekly trip to Grandmas. Yes? No?
Perhaps success means adhering to a strict vegan diet and/or having zero percent body as a result of your mass, leafy consumption efforts. (Yuck on both accounts; just sayin’!)
Maybe success means being poor in cash, yet rich in friendships and love; or maybe it means having millions of dollars to fastidiously count each day, just like Scrooge McDuck.
Success might mean owning a quiet little house in the country or a small condo in the heart of a bustling city; or maybe it means having no fixed address at all so there’s complete freedom to drop everything and travel the globe at a moment’s notice! Yee Haw!
For you success may be some of these things, all of these things, or none of them at all. And while the above statements suggest that everybody defines success differently, I have to say I disagree. I actually believe that success means the exact same thing to everybody.
For anyone to be truly successful in life they must feel happy and fulfilled; anything less is a life not fully experienced which in turn could be defined as a life of unhappiness and lack.
So by this logic, the definition of success is to feel happy and fulfilled, and therefore applies for everyone from The Queen of England to a single mom to our next-door neighbors.
On it’s own, approaching the definition of success as having feelings of happiness and fulfillment makes perfect sense. However since the actual things and experiences that make people feel happy and fulfilled vary from one person to the next, it only makes sense that it takes different things and experiences for different people to feel successful.
For example, travelling the globe, enjoying meals with good friends, spending time with people I care about are all things that make me feel happy and fulfilled, so this is where I put my time and energy. And when I do these things, I feel successful.
On the flipside, owning a big home or driving a fancy new car with 2,000 satellite music channels aren’t important to me – actually they’d make me feel trapped and miserable – and create within me the exact opposite feelings from success. But that’s just me; you might derive a ton of happiness and fulfillment from them, and that’s totally cool.
My point is that while success is about feeling happy and fulfilled, it’s also about accepting and understanding that the things and activities and experiences that create these feelings are different for each of us. We are all unique, and that’s a good thing.
As individuals the trick is to find what things and experiences makes us feel these things and then do as many of them as possible. Try using Tony Robbins definition of success:
- What things make me feel deliriously happy and incredibly fulfilled?
- What needs to happen to bring way more of these things into my life?
Not sure how to answer? No problem! Let’s narrow down our thoughts and get a good, solid working definition of what success means to us by answering one single question:
- If I had unlimited time, money and resources, how would I spend them?
Digging deep to answer these kinds of questions helps to identify the things, activities and experiences that excite us most; these being the same things that can (and will) bring happiness and joy into our lives.
Super Bonus: These are also usually the things that align most with our purpose.
Asking succinct, direct questions helps us discover what brings us happiness and fulfillment; and by our definition of what success is – feelings of happiness and fulfillment – they point us on the path towards our version of a successful life, whatever that looks like for us.
Take a few moments and answer these questions, jotting down your answers on a piece of paper. Do this for no other reason but to get your mind to begin thinking about all the things that make you feel good happy and fulfilled.
Do this, and you will soon discover your own definition of success; and that, my friend is the perfect place to begin this incredible journey called life; as in YOUR life, and MY life.
Let’s do this!