When I was a young man, I considered success to consist of fame, fortune, and other materialistic endeavors.
In reaching a milestone in age this year…
and in reflecting back, it’s amazing how that definition has changed over time. I mean, don’t get me wrong, flashy things that society and modern media screams at you to strive for would still often be fun to have.
But now, when I define success it has a lot more to do with having a great relationship with my future wife, raising a healthy family, and accomplishing things that help people and contribute to society as a whole.
How do you define success in your life? Do you have to run a marathon? Become a millionaire, or a billionaire? Date a super-model?
I would never seek to put myself in the position to judge your definition of success. You are free to decide what your life is about, and what makes you feel satisfied.
All that said, a helpful thing in this regard is to consider your deeper motivations.
Why is that important, and what do I mean by that? Let’s go deeper.
When you choose a goal, it’s critically important to ask and answer the question about why you want that thing, because often times, you might be pursuing a goal that is outdated and not in line with your current values. There could be a multitude of other, more important things right under your nose that you’re not thinking about, and that could make you feel just as happy with much less work.
An example here might help to provide some context.
Say, for instance, the only thing you’ve ever wanted is to become a billionaire.
Why do you want that?
What is it that drives creates that drive within you? Do you just want the money to have the money? Or is it more of an external motivation? Maybe you want to prove someone wrong, or make someone jealous. Were you jilted by a former lover, and you want to rub it in their face? Maybe you have a nobler motivation, and you want to build and develop an organization to help people, and you think that getting that money first is the only way to make that happen.
Let’s isolate and examine those two drives for a minute.
Life is very short. If your lifelong goal is based on making someone jealous you’re going to be neglecting a lot of things that could make you happy in the present moment. If someone doesn’t love you, there are millions of other people who will love you, without you having to try so hard. And even with that, if they don’t love you for you who are, they aren’t really going to love you if you’re a billionaire.
Or let’s look at the motivation of building an organization to help people. If you wait until you’re wealthy to make this happen, there are a lot of people who you will not be able to help for many years while you’re working to achieve your great wealth. Often, it could make a lot more sense to simply start helping those people now, learn how non-profits work, and steadily work to build that organization that you want to build from the ground up.
I think the point here is that a lot of the things you want to achieve are available to you in the present moment, and by closely examining your motivations you can take a hybrid approach, and accomplish multiple things at the same time.