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To most of us that word “success” is synonymous with: Top-of-the-range cars, owning or living in apartments in prime places, lavish weddings, piles of academic degrees, an elite pedigree, piles of cash stashed away at the ready. The list goes on.
Every day, we all wake up, go through our morning routine, begin our day, go through it, and end it, only to do the same the next day. In pursuit of some “success”.
Sadly, most times those things don’t come to us. It is like we have to go to them. And they are always running, it seems. The fastest runners have so far only managed to catch their shadows because the real thing always seems a little faster…
It makes sense why Solomon, the wise king, after piling and never satiated concluded that the pursuit for “success”, here on earth is all a “chasing after the wind.
We all have this “idea” of what success is but we never really get there. We self-persuade that once we earn X amount, or have a certain size home or drive a certain car or become friends with so and so, then we can claim to be successful.
For those of us who are lucky enough to achieve those things, new goals and desires come up, and we begin working at them. So when does it all end? Is there an end to success or is it just something that we make up in our minds?
We all have different ideas of what success is. Something that means the world to one person can be a disaster to another. If that holds true, why, then, do we often rank our success by standards set by those around us? We should be our own standards. Matter of fact, referring to your yesterday is just sufficient to help you check your success today. Precisely, you are 100% in control of your own success. You get to choose when you are successful, no one else.
Now, to the inverse of this, failure is on the exact same wavelength. Only we can decide if we are failures or not. John Maxwell argued so well in this regard, saying, “We are not failures. We only fail at a certain thing,” in his book Failing Forward. In other words, failure is not a human identity, but a learning opportunity for one that has failed at something. For example, not qualifying for a certain test does not make you a failure, it may simply mean the person that got it might be older and more experienced. Therefore you have to try elsewhere.
You are not a failure. Therefore, stop living as though you are racing against anyone. If you, so badly, desire to race, do so with the yester-you.
Our lives are surrounded by once impossibilities. Many people who had tried those things may have told themselves that they were failures for not doing them. But there were others that tried and overcame whatever obstacles were in their way. Moreover, there came those who even bettered the once “impossible” feat, successfully. There comes the word again- success.
So one would wonder, when or where does success or failure begin or end?
Success comes when we make a deliberate decision to do what we can, with the available resources, and be happy with the outcome. I think that too many people forget that last part. Happiness is success. Success is happiness. If we can wake up each day and be genuinely happy with where we are in our lives, then, and only then, may one be able to say that they are truly a success.
A decision to be happy in the moment it is. Of course this mindset-shift does not take place overnight. But it, sure, is a worthy process.
For those who have been taught throughout their lives that if they aren’t “winning” or if they don’t have the very best “stuff” then they are a failure, fuss no more; those are plain fallacies. They are greed and ungratefulness-driven toxic teachings handed down from generation to generation, from people striving to be envied by everyone or by those trying to feel accepted by those who have more than them.
Unfortunately this way of thinking is grossly misleading. No amount of material achievement will fill any man’s insatiable appetite for more, let alone bring happiness. Now some might argue that these things do bring them happiness, granted. However, we must also observe that, generally, that feeling of “happiness” is only temporary.
A simple decision, made consistently, is all that it takes to be successful and happy. A decision to be over the top excited about everything that we already have in our lives, is all that it takes to be successful.
Please don’t get me wrong, it’s important to work hard, push yourself, achieve as much as you can and to try to “make this world a better place”. All of those things will help us to live an easier life. But it’s a decision we make, undergirded by Godly gratitude that will determine whether we will be thankful for what we have or envious of what we see others have.