When I was growing up there was a lot of pressure to succeed.
I don’t know whether you can relate but my parents, coming from an Asian background, both of whom were war time refugees, success was an expectation!
Success for them meant a good car, a good job (for life) and a good house and family to share it with.
Study hard + work hard + so you can continue working hard and studying hard = SUCCESS. (Does this formula sound familiar?)
For me, that meant hours and hours of ‘extra-home work and long lectures extolling the virtues of becoming a person who would do well by their family.
My dad in particular was adamant that I would one day become a doctor, or a lawyer. Ideally both.
If you have ever met my dad (who was probably the most larrikan asian guy I know) then you could understand why… 😛
They had a very clear idea of what success looked like for them.
Today, success can be defined in a lot of different ways. Many people commonly equate success with wealth, possessions, and even job titles.
Television and mass media constantly define for us what success should look like.
Get that new car! Reach the top! Get the latest smartphone! Though misleading, that perception constantly puts pressure on us to measure up, we often feel as everyone else is more successful than us and it’s often the ones closest to us that feel the brunt of our striving.
Then, we wonder why we’re left feeling empty inside, unhappy and unfulfilled with our lives..
Maybe we’re looking at success in the wrong way.
Maybe we need to stop and re-define success, not according to what the media says…or even our parents or anyone for that matter. Maybe what matters most is what YOU believe success should look like.
After all, it’s your life.
If you could look back at your life 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years from now, what would a successful life look like to you? What achievements would you be proud of? What actions would have brought you the most joy and fulfilment to your life? Put in another way, what would failure look like to you?
Putting success into your own words (and not anyone else’s) can help you focus on what’s important in life and where you should be spending your time and energy each day.
10 Questions That Create Success
To help you get started, here’s a list of questions that Geoffrey James, award-winning blogger and editor for Inc.com, put together. Funnily enough, none of these questions have anything to do with wealth or material possessions. Rather, these questions focus on our character and our relationships.
Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse, spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives asked similiar questions in her book Top five Regrets of the Dying. And people never regretted working at the office more, they never wished that had more material possessions.
Maybe that’s because in the end, they’re not the things that matter the most?
Take some time out, in a quite place to ask these questions of yourself below. Remind them to yourself every now and then. (And before you put unnecessary pressure on youreslf to succeed in these) Success can actually be very simple, very quick and very achievable.
Success is not a destination, it’s a journey.
1. Have I made certain that those I love feel loved?
2. Have I done something today that improved the world?
3. Have I conditioned my body to be more strong flexible and resilient?
4. Have I reviewed and honed my plans for the future?
5. Have I acted in private with the same integrity I exhibit in public?
6. Have I avoided unkind words and deeds?
7. Have I accomplished something worthwhile?
8. Have I helped someone less fortunate?
9. Have I collected some wonderful memories?
10. Have I felt grateful for the incredible gift of being alive?
If you’ve found this post helpful, please leave a comment below!
The answers to these questions become your goals that you can start to work on.
Earl Nightingale believed that goals are the very foundation of success. As long as we are working towards fulfilment of those goals in our lives, we are successful.
He once said, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal.” I like that. Success is not just the achievement of the goal. It’s the journey getting there. So that means that we can be successful every day of our lives! Now that’s success redefined!
~ Samith Pich
(This content has been adapted from a fantastic article written by Paul Jun “The Real Meaning of Success” from lifehack.org. and “Success: A Worthy Destination” by Earl Nightingale from getmotivation.com. The questions are from the article “10 Questions That Create Success” from inc.com)