Success looks easy to some, tough to others, depending on how you approach your dreams and ambitions. Success begins with education and ends with…well, something else. In some people’s minds it ends with money and position – and that’s partly the story of success in the traditional, functional world. But people who truly understand the meaning of success may not even be in the world of the rich and powerful. They might be somewhere else altogether.

The problem of the search for success

  • Years of conditioning by parents, society and the media, have led us to believe that happiness depends on success. Money, power, and looks are all related to success.
  • At different stages of your life, success will mean different things. When you’re young, success is achieving high academic standards and qualifications, when you’re older it’s your career that’s important – you have to succeed in various aspects of your job. Then as you age, success becomes a sense of accomplishment and stability, as well as how successful your children become.
  • For many, the definition of success relates to material possessions, status, a lifestyle of luxury and leisure. However, these things rarely satisfy for long, and in a while you are chasing after evermore distant rainbows, trying to capture this elusive thing called happiness.
  • Simply having things is not always enough, and sometimes we become preoccupied with the endless search for fulfilment through trying to impress, and buying more possessions. And all the while we are searching for society’s acceptance – which is really just other people’s definition of what we should be happy about.
  • And we feel, when we meet social expectations, that we have achieved some moral high ground, and deserve society’s admiration and praise. And while we have been working to attain a reasonable level of financial security, the pursuit of wealth and position may not have contributed to our happiness at all.

Success and personal growth

  • What is real success? When looking over the long complexity of a single life, it may actually mean no more than staying true to your values while taking steps to meeting your goals. Perhaps that is enough. Grasping the fact that you are enough as yourself, presents opportunity to create self-harmony that drives your life, and which may be all the success anyone can ever really aspire to.
  • Carl Jung suggested our psyche consists of three specific parts: the persona, the ego, and the essential self. The persona is the aspect of ourselves we wish to present to the world. The ego is the aspect of ourselves we believe ourselves to be. When these are out of alignment, we tend to think of ourselves as failures. This creates a negative energy flow. Focusing on your goals, and what makes you happy, are the two elements you need to balance in order to translate negative energy to positive – and ultimately to the success that is individually primed for you.
  • A whole person is peaceful, fulfilled, and compassionate. Financial status is important, but is really only a small portion of the whole that is you and your potential. Success is a continuum, not a destination; success evolves as you develop; it is not a goal in itself, it is a lifestyle that nurtures your mindset to work within your circumstances, capabilities and individuality.
  • Success means to exist in good health and wholeness. To find that level of balance and satisfaction is the best place you can reach. To constantly grasp for more might set your life at odds, and that ephemeral thing called success might elude you. Success is journey, an experience, a sense of purpose; it is not a place.
  • Set your goals, attain your objectives, accomplish your aims. Achieve what you want in life – that is success. But it’s not a chase, it’s not an ever higher mountain to conquer. Sometimes success is simply balance, the simple things in life – like bills paid, projects finished, healthy children, a happy family.

Success is different for everyone

Everyone has a different meaning for success. When you’re young you want to establish your career and money; as you age you really want a home and family; and as you reach the later years of your life you want good health, and you have learnt to value time. As the years pass, your definition of success changes; ambition and success mean different things to different people.

To understand your definition of success, you need to be clear about what you want.
In a nutshell, you need to define the success you desire before you can achieve it; you can’t hit a target you can’t see. Wanting to be rich or happy are not goals. These are wishes. But people get caught up in these dreams, and that’s why many don’t reach the level of success they desire.

A clear vision will help you to define and formulate a plan to get where you want to go. Measure achievement in small steps – and be happy in each success as you grow and develop your life. Make your goals measurable. You can’t measure happiness if you are not comfortable with yourself – and in harmony with the route you are taking. The more specific you are with your definition of success, the more likely you are going to achieve it.

Success begins in your mind. When you can visualise what you want and how you can get there, you will be directing positive energy into action. Dreams can come true – but sometimes they come true in ways you haven’t planned or expected. That’s real life. That’s real success. When the grand things shrink to up close and personal, together with a satisfying warmth in the heart – that is the real success you truly seek.