Is success a curse or a cure? Success is a driver for many people. We want to be successful and be seen as being successful. If we aren’t successful doesn’t it mean by default, we failed? No one wants to fail. But what if reaching for success is what makes us fail. We are so busy fearing failure that we forget why we started. If we focus too much on success, we are actually focusing more on failure. For some reason us humans work harder to avoid failure than we do to get what we want. We know that it is the small few that actually succeed, the 1% top of class the 5% of successful people. We walk around in a daze praying we are in that top percent. Success is often measured by how much money we have and what grades we get. That’s old school, so let’s change the narrative.
My history is that of a strong corporate and masculine dominated world. Warmth and compassion were seen as weaknesses and only the strong survived. It’s exhausting. I’m glad that part of my life is over. It taught me many things but not what success was. Instead it was an environment dominated by winning. To succeed was to win, to have one over someone, to be better, to separate yourself from the others. That’s not the result I want. As the years roll by, I’m learning to appreciate a different view where success is gentler, kinder.
Stopping to think why someone wants success you get to see it’s because they want to feel better. We all too often look outside to decide if we have succeeded rather than inside. Sometimes its because we want more stuff and we measure our success by wealth and the belongings we own. However, these things too bring a feeling of satisfaction. If you ever want more stuff it’s because you think in having it, you will feel better and feeling better is worth striving for.
In my corporate life I used to be caught in a cycle of over-achieving. Doing a job wasn’t enough it needed to be bigger, better. Who was I if I wasn’t an over-achieving and focused on getting stuff done? I needed to redefine my value and break the connection of what success was in the old way. How could I succeed without having accomplished anything? How could I succeed at being, existing?
I now like to look at success as satisfaction. I know if I’m satisfied with the quality of my environment and how I feel inside. It means I can now be satisfied with a meditation experience, quality time with my children, in having good ideas, and even satisfied that I’m using environmentally friendly products. All these things are now me being a success. The problem was success, it was how it was defined. Now I define it as satisfaction which is a state of being and not an end result.
How would you define success?