I believe that this is one of the most important questions someone could ask. Why? Because the way we live is very much determined by our definition of success. Either consciously or unconsciously, we always make decisions based on our definition of success.
For example, if your definition of success is rich, then you will make decisions that makes you richer, even if that sometimes means sacrificing other things such as your family.
Each of us already has a definition of success, whether we realize it or not. To help you find it out, just close your eyes for a moment and imagine how a successful person looks like. Is he rich? Is he famous? Does he ride a limousine? Does he have a lot of friends? Well, whatever it is, that is your definition of success. That’s the image you are after to make yourself successful.
Another way to find out your definition of success is to mention names. We usually have role models of those who we think are successful. We want to be like them. So follow these two steps:
- Write names (or it can also be only one name, it’s up to you) of people whom you think are successful.
- Answer this: what characteristic do they have that makes you think they are successful? Please write only one characteristic. If you think of multiple characteristics, try to find one that can summarize them all.
Your answer in step 2 is your definition of success.
Ok, now you have your definition of success. So what’s the problem?
Well, the problem is sometimes our definition of success doesn’t match our principles. For example, our principles may say that success is not measured by money. However, from the exercise above we may find that our definition of success is actually “rich”.
Such mismatch means that the way we live is different from our principles (because, as I mention above, the way we live is very much determined by our definition of success). Since our principles are what we think as the truth, actually we should live according to them. Living differently from our principles means that we do not follow our heart and conscience. There’s no way we can have a fulfilling life that way.
What should you do if that happens? Change your definition of success to match your principles. Redefine your definition of success. Make it aligned with your principles. Your definition of success should follow your principles and not the other way.
Of course, it is easier said than done. Often, our definition of success has been rooted deep in our mind that we go back to it unconsciously. We may remember our new definition for a few days only to unconsciously go back to the old one later.
That’s why it is important to have regular reflection time. Your reflection time is the time where you should realign your life with your principles. That’s the time to check whether you have followed your heart or not.
Your definition of success is important. Don’t let it go the wrong way.