What Is Success?

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“… if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau

When I ask someone what success looks like, they often throw out a dollar amount. Even when they don’t think they have a number, there’s often a lifestyle attached to a number in the back of their minds. And the number has a tendency to expand with time.

People’s fortune, or misfortune for that matter, is in our face 24/7. Driven by the ubiquity of these positive caricatures of enormous wealth, this desire for ‘more money’ is the de facto goal for billions of people around the world.

Ironically, having ‘more money’ as a goal will not make you happy. Money itself is not something to aspire for. Money is simply a metric; something you can measure. The true value of money is expressed by how it can help you live a happy and fulfilling life. How it can help your dreams become reality.

We all have a vision of the future we want, goals we want to achieve. When we achieve these goals, we experience intrinsic happiness. But, while being focused on your goals, you need to appreciate the perfection of the present moment. This is supported by the reality that once you achieve a goal, you’re often already working on the next, and so on. We know this for a fact.

This balance can be very tricky. We can strive to improve our absolute circumstance, but the reality is that we need to find contentment in today. If we can be content today, then a goal is simply another challenge on our individual journey, not the destination.

I define success as ‘experiencing the fulfillment of living a life centered on purpose’. Lose the imaginary construct that money has placed on society and embrace what makes you intrinsically happy and fulfilled. Take a deep breath knowing that success isn’t something to strive for, it’s a decision.

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein




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