How do you define success? If you don’t understand what success is, you will always reach for something you can’t obtain. Something that is hidden over the horizon. Success is not one of those garments that reads, ‘One size fits all’.
Success is a Bumpy Road
Succeeding is not a steady climb, for you fail your way to success and there is a miniscule line between failure and success. There are some battles you can’t win, but you can settle back and give of your best, no matter what the war is. We all know that life is comprised a very bumpy road and the road to success is the same.
Life frequently takes a diversion from our plotted course and just accepting the changed circumstances is a huge success. The old saying is, ‘You cannot kick against the pricks’. Life has its ups-and-downs and to define success is the secret of not letting the downs rule your life.
As humans, we have a psyche that feeds on variety. You would be bored out of your mind if you were fed the same food for every meal. We need stimulation through diversity. If I wrote the same thing for each article, you wouldn’t give me a second look and I would get bored to tears. Life is an adventure and success a challenge.
Success has Small Victories
Success is made up of small victories. It is such a joy to see a child take its first step, which is the beginning of a lifetime of failure and triumph. Notice the delight on the child’s face as it succeeds. That first step is equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest.
However, success is not an isolated effort. Sir Edmund Hillary did not suddenly find himself on top of Mt. Everest. He only succeeded through years of heartbreaking training, as he often took risks that were almost one risk too far. A child learning to walk will always take one risk too far. There is so much we can learn about success from watching that child. Notice how they learn from failure and the dogmatic refusal to quit. Bumps along the way are not a deterrent.
The black dog of depression, built on inward-looking self-pity, is a sure recipe to failure. Success requires you to be an outward-looking person. You have a choice between becoming the ‘walking dead’, or living each day, reaching out to distant horizons.
Hillary saw Mt. Everest as a challenge. There were times he faced failure, but he pressed on and learned how to define success in his own inimitable way. We all have an Everest to climb, one victorious step at a time.
Disability and societal limitations have frequently proved the backdrop of some amazing successes. They show us how to define success in extreme circumstances. Disability and limitations should not define who you are or hold you back. To push past these barriers is to know success through small, but amazing victories.
How to Define Parental Success
How to define success as a parent is difficult. All parents feel they fail their kids, as none of us are perfect and we do not live in a perfect world. The problem arises when we ask more of ourselves or our kids, than is reasonable. When expectations are too high, there is no hope of success. All we can do is offer them the best that we have and remember that everyone has different expectations as to what is good parenting.
How to define success as a parent is to know when it is time to let go. There comes a time when the youngsters must fly and build their own life. They have the right to succeed in their own way and in whatever they choose. It may not be what you want, but it is what they need, just as you left your parents and made your own life. Trying to hang onto something that is not yours to keep will not lead to success.
There’s lots of advice available on successful parenting. Parental influence lives on, long after the kids move on. Looking back on parenthood, we can say we succeeded if we gave of our best in whatever circumstances we found ourselves in. No one can ask anymore.
Never underestimate the reach of your influence. My grandmother never knew how much she impacted my life, yet I only knew her as a gracious, elderly woman who lived in a household of teenagers who never tried to ‘parent’ us. She came from the era of horse and buggy to the era of television and the jet plane. She was a star and never knew it.
How to Define Success Through Tragedy
Tragedy will define who you become, for it is always life changing, but to recover from the shock and rebuild on the new norm is a huge success. This takes time and a lot of effort and that time and type of pathway is different for every individual.
Tragic events such as hurricanes and natural disasters are universal levellers and global incidents in this era of the Knowledge Explosion. However, surviving those events is composed of numerous individual successes, as people rise up and overcome the obstacles, each in their own way.
Success is Not Quitting
Success is about not quitting, but using each failure as a learning experience. Thomas Edison succeeded because he refused to quit. He registered over a thousand patents but we remember him for the light bulb. Edison built his ideas from the shoulders of others. I learn more about writing by listening to, or reading the work of good writers.
Our lives are not isolated islands. We are influenced by others and others influence us. We can live as an inspiration to others or become a drag, for defining success is learning how to not be a drain.
Success has No Regrets
To succeed is to without regrets. We all have regrets, but we need to remember, hindsight has twenty, twenty vision. Don’t waste your energy on ‘If only…….’ That only leads to a guaranteed failure. Have you ever seen anyone continue walking on successfully for any length of time, when they walk backwards? The thing that kills success is an overdose of retrospection.
Success is looking forward, no matter our age. We can all have personal goals. Living through another day of pain, and adopting the best attitude you can, is a success. Moan and you soon moan alone. Bitterness, resentment and anger have long, soul-destroying, destructive roots. A road paved with forgiveness and patience is a road to success. Patience is power and forgiveness a healing balm.
Stardom is Not how you Define Success
Most of us will travel through this life in the shadows of anonymous obscurity, without the bright lights of fame and notoriety. I sat through the very sad fictional Marilyn Monroe movie, produced by Brad Pitt. This was probably the reason I started down this line of thought of how to define success.
Everyone wanted a piece of Monroe, but her life revealed the dark underbelly of the star-studded years of Hollywood, though this was barely talked about in the movie. Wealthy moguls only looked for someone they could make more money off. The health and welfare of the person they were using was of no consequence.
Monroe was not the only ‘star’ to end up disillusioned and drug-ridden, just so ordinary people could sit in a darkened cinema and be entertained, while the money continued to drop into already over-stuffed pockets. Monroe appeared to have a season of success, but behind the façade was a deeply troubled woman. One line her character frequently spoke in the film was “Marilyn Monroe is not here.” Her ‘success’ was not reality.
If you define success as achieving fame, then a young child taking its first step will be classed as insignificant. True success is living through a tragedy and eventually coming out the other side stronger and wiser. Success is dealing with life, one step at a time, and knowing you are not alone.
Above all, you need to love what you do and do what you love. Every day is a new challenge. Tomorrow may not come and yesterday is gone. Your success, is accepting the challenge of doing your best, in whatever circumstances you find yourself in. Your voice is influential. Use it to the betterment and encouragement of others and you will understand how to define success.
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