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Your Success – Start Where You Are
Success, of necessity, starts right where you are. It begins by deciding your definition of success and how that translates into one or more target goals. There are two concepts on the road of Success:
- We have one or more target goals and
- We are successful as we take steps toward our goal(s).
It’s good to ask some questions; if we are going to ask, we might as well make them worthwhile.
What is your definition of success?
My definition is explained in a previous post. Success can have more than one aspect. I’ve said that success involves working towards something that you feel is worthwhile. I’ve joined it to being content and stated that, in a way, the journey itself can be your success. But honestly, most of us have some concept of what success means and what that looks like in our lives. So, along with experiencing success in the journey, we may not be satisfied with a journey that never leads to a conclusion but leaves us wandering around. That’s where targets and goals come into play.
Your definition of success is critical. I can’t tell you what success looks like to you. Our ideas of success are built along the path as we live. Some of our ideas, maybe most, come from our experiences at a young age during particularly formative years. I’m not a psychologist or expert in this. I bring it up so you can begin to form an opinion of what success means to you and challenge that idea if necessary.
Why might you need to challenge your idea of success? If it involves some anti-social behavior or criminal intent or will end up causing harm, I would advise you to challenge your idea of success, determine where those concepts are coming from, and work with someone to change your concepts and framework. For instance, there’s a story from a king who wanted one of his peasant’s prime garden property. He couldn’t rest and feel successful unless he had that property. But the peasant wouldn’t sell it. So the queen, his wife, arranged to kill the peasant so that her husband could have his garden. As the king walked through his new park, he may have felt some success. But it was an ill-gained success at the cost of another person’s life. I wouldn’t advise it, and if the only way you can feel successful is at the cost of another person’s expense – take some time to work from a different point of view.
Write down your definition of success. Is it goal-oriented or journey-oriented (it can be both)?
When my daughter finished school, she wanted to travel around, get out of town, anywhere, but here was good. She had a Journey-Oriented goal. Travel, see other places, visit other people. There was no specific place she wanted to visit at that time, and no particular goal said she was finished. Only her satisfaction along the way ended in a feeling of… wishing to return home. I’m kidding a little; she was somewhat satisfied with the result of her travels.
Years later, she wanted to spend time in Paris writing and drawing. This was a very specific goal for which she took several steps to execute. She planned, saved, and finally achieved. The trip was a success; she felt a measure of success in completing it, but coming home was sad because she couldn’t stay longer.
I’m including a third category, which I refer to as Life-Oriented Success. This is the type of success I hope you can achieve. It is what I call living on the road of Success. It’s when you can wake up every morning, look around, and think, I’m blessed – I’m successful today. You may have everything you ever wanted, and more, you may have nothing or anywhere on the scale in between. This type of success is your well-being. It’s how you see yourself, your world, the people, and life around you.
Much of our life is a matter of perspective. That can be fortunate or unfortunate. Some people seem to see things in a positive light, and some see things in a more negative dimension. There are positives to both, and we need both in life. When you see a wild animal charging at you, healthy fear can save your life. Yet, if that same kind of fear holds you back from doing something extraordinary, then it’s not necessarily good.
I’m not going to get into how our perspective or personality is formed; there is plenty of research on that subject, and I’m not an expert on it. But from my viewpoint 🙂 we all experience the world around us from a perspective built into us, probably at an early age. But just because we see, hear, feel, or think we know something doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. Some people have a chemical issue in their brain and see things that are not really there. Some animals can see a broader range of colors and hear sounds we cannot. There are things around us that we cannot see but are real. Apart from math, where we can provide proofs and 1+1 always seems to equal 2, we don’t know all, and what we can perceive is filtered through our minds and experiences. It’s like walking through the woods and being bit by a snake. The next time we walk through the woods, we see a stick, mistake it for a snake, and jump back in fear. It’s a stick.
We’re talking about Life-Oriented Success based on our feelings, perspectives, and attitudes. The point of view and success is that it helps to find a perspective framework that enables us to wake up and go to sleep with amazement. If we don’t, we may want to shift from a negative perspective to a neutral one, if not optimistic. Maybe evaluate things as they are and let them be. However, we are emotional creatures and generally have feelings about anything, bringing us to attitude.
We need to talk about attitude because it affects how we process the world around us. Attitude is not perspective, but I would suggest it is a part of perspective and how we experience the world around us. I can’t say it better than Charles Swindoll, who said this…
“…life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”— Charles Swindoll
You can read the full text HERE.
Attitude will have a tremendous impact on Your Success. If you think you are a failure, it doesn’t mean you are, but it doesn’t help you feel successful. If we have success, and most of us already do, why wouldn’t we want to enjoy it at least as we journey?
It’s amazing to talk to people and discover that many of us feel insecure and unsure of ourselves. We project a good image, but underneath it all, there may be a frightened, sometimes battered child. It isn’t easy to feel successful and content in that state. But how do we change our perspective and attitude if need be? It takes focused attention and work; other people’s help can be substantial. I can’t help you work through personal issues. But I can provide some questions to help you on your journey and enjoy Success along the way.
What Can You Do?
Here are some things to think about in this “Starting Where We Are” section.
- What is your definition of Success?
- Provide at least one definition of Success in each of the following categories:
- Other – You Define
- How do you experience life generally? Happy, sad, joyous, bitter, upbeat, depressive, etc.
- Give an overview of your Perspective of people, society, and life. Are people helpful, looking out for themselves, out to get you? What is your overall view of society: Positive, negative, neutral, no time to consider it? How is your life Successful, unsuccessful, or somewhere in between? Would you like to do better, maintain the status quo, and not be worried about it?
- How does Attitude affect your life? Do you generally see things with a positive or negative attitude, or just let things play out as they will?
- How do you interact with other people? Are you outgoing, like to be by yourself, lots of friends, a few friends, no friends, need a friend?
As you think about these things and your answers, you’re taking a personal inventory that can help you realize one of two things:
- Why you may not feel successful when others do.
- Why you may seem to feel successful when others do not.
This is simply a step toward OF (not TO) Success. It is not a mental or psychological assessment in any way but just some questions that come to mind when thinking about Success and how Perspective and Attitude may figure into it all. My disclaimer is that I’m not a professional expert on mental health or any other type of thing. I’ve experienced life and am passing on some of what I have experienced and learned. I always appreciate your comments and perspective on the whole thing.
Thanks for joining me.
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Authored by H Mark Taylor – An Independent Certified Coach, Teacher, Trainer, and Speaker with Maxwell Leadership Certified Team
Copyright © 2023 H Mark Taylor. All rights reserved.