The ABC’s Of A Great Life – ‘S’ Is For Success


Despite some strange pseudo-spiritual grumblings to the contrary, there is nothing wrong with success. In fact, most religious and spiritual teachings flat out promise their followers success in one form or another as a matter of course. Of course, there is the matter of how you define success, for the trappings of traditional success often come at the expense of our spirit, our humanity and our integrity. But that need not be the case, if we are willing to invest a little time, energy and conscious thought into the process.

One of the chief problems with traditional success is that it is a default setting – few of us ever really explore what success means for us, aside from some nebulous concept of wealth, fame and acclaim. However, these are merely tools and as such should not be seen as ends in and of themselves (even though this is very often the case). It is what these items can bring you or allow you to do that holds the key to true success.

So you must ask yourself, “If I had all the trappings of success, what would I want out of them? What would they bring me? What would make it all worthwhile?” Once you know this in general terms, get specific. Do you want to make $100,000 a year? Why? What would that amount of money allow you that $50,000 or $75,000 would not? How do you know? Perhaps it isn’t a particular monetary amount after all, but rather the ability to meet certain needs with plenty left over for certain wants. Or perhaps it is simply the cachet that comes with achieving a certain level of wealth. Just remember what researchers have found in the past – that wealth beyond the amount necessary to meet basic survival needs doesn’t improve happiness to any measurable amount (i.e. the rich are just as happy or unhappy rich as they would be if they had just enough to cover their needs).

For some, however, success is less tangible. They seek public acclaim or the ability to command certain favors or have certain emotional needs met. Still others prefer to judge success by the content of their closets and garages, or by the nature and scope of their day-to-day activities. There is nothing inherently wrong or bad about any of these, as long as you can achieve them through a life of integrity and authenticity.

So what does success look like to you? How might you go about achieving it authentically? Remember that your ability to create change and to help others is directly related to your own success – the better off you are in all facets of your life and the less energy you waste dealing with “failure” issues, the more resources you have at your disposal to do good.

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