Why We Need to Redefine Success
Here’s something to consider. Let’s say your goal is to become the founder of a successful company or to reach the corner office of a large corporation. After many years of stress, worry and an avalanche of emotional, mental and physical overload, you finally achieve your goal, along with all the wealth and prestige that comes with it. Is this success?
Depending on who you ask, and if you consult a dictionary, the answer would be yes. Webster’s Dictionary defines success as: 1. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors. 2. The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
I think it’s amazing that the words “happy” or “happiness” or “joy” are not included in the definition of the word “success.” Unfortunately, our conventional definition of success is simply achieving the goal. Not enough emphasis is placed on the value of experiencing and enjoying the journey, building character, and learning life lessons along the way.
Now, imagine if someone were to show you a video of yourself as you climbed the ladder to great success. In this video you see yourself achieving all of your goals and obtaining wealth. During this entire process, however, you also witness how you subjected your body, mind and spirit to intense negative energy along the way. Not only were you unhappy most of the time, but you were able to see how your outright refusal to allow for joy during the process affected your family, friends, associates and your overall well-being. Talk about a downer of a movie. But I’ll ask you the question again. Is this success? This time, I hope that everyone would give the definitive answer– No!
I really want you to get this: if the process of fulfilling your goal is polluted with negative energy and lack of enjoyment, it can only create more unhappiness, even if the outcome is positive in the short term. The happiness that you feel in the moment of reaching “success” is a temporary state dictated by its conventional definition. After the initial euphoria wears off, you are back in the same old negative place, because you’ve carried that same old mindset with you. It’s a sad, classic cycle of “what you sow is what you reap.”
The truth is, it really doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how famous you are, or how many goals you’ve achieved. It makes no difference how big your house is or what industry accolades you’ve racked up in your career. The entire world can view your life as the ultimate success story, but the bottom line is this: if you are not happy, you are not successful. If you are not enjoying yourself on your journey towards your goal, you’re ripping yourself off. Trust me; there are enough people willing to do that for you.
The adventure towards any goal is what brings value to it. The path towards the goal is where your life unfolds and happiness is truly meaningful. When you are in the process of working to achieve something, you are experiencing who you are and what you’re made of. Your character is being tested and molded.
When you become aware of the importance of every step in the process, you are sending a message to yourself, as well as the entire universe, that you are not only here, but qualified and ready to overcome obstacles along the way. All of which are essential ingredients for happiness.
There is absolutely no reason why you can’t make a conscious choice to experience and enjoy yourself– and happiness is a choice– on the journey towards the goal. If you do, you will undoubtedly have a profound appreciation of how you earned it. That’s the ultimate success.
This article was also published on Success Magazine