Success. There are so many questionable definitions and ideals about it bombarding us every day from early childhood on. Very often it is being portrayed as something that has to do only with status, number and type of friends, vacations, appearance, money, happiness, education, family size, heritage, size of home, expensive hobbies, type and number of cars, etc. The more, the better. Right? Well, perhaps.
Good news is that each one of us can and should define success on an individual basis. Tough part of this is deciding what success means to you. Here are 9 ways of looking at it and I invite you to ponder this list in peace and quiet. Yes, this means that you will need to spend some time to do this, but it allows for you getting closer to living on purpose – your specific purpose.
Ponder the following 9 questions. Reflect upon which one(s) light you up the most. How is your current life aligned with your answer? You are getting closer to defining your purpose.
- The Mind: When you are done here on Earth do you want for more truth, knowledge and wisdom to exist because you were here? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the mind.
- The Body: When you are done here on Earth do you want there to be more fitness, wholeness, a better way to feed and clothe the hungry and poor? Do you want to build the strength and vitality of the body? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the body.
- The Senses: When you are done here on Earth do you want there to be more beauty? Do you want to create something for all the senses to enjoy a sense of beauty and sustainability? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the senses.
- The Will and Conscience: When you are done here on Earth do you want here to be more justice, morality, honesty, righteousness? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the will and your conscience.
- The Spirit: When you are done here on Earth do you want for there to be more spirituality, compassion, empathy, wholeness of family, forgiveness, and faith in the world? How about a better and deeper connection with God? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the spirit.
- Entertainment: When you are done here on Earth do you want for there to be more laughter, joy, perspective, lightening of people’s hearts and spirit? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of entertainment.
- Possessions: When you are done here on Earth do you want for there to be a better way of sustaining ourselves here, a better handling of our possessions, a clearer picture of what is enough versus more is better? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of possessions.
- The Earth: When you are done here on Earth do you want for there to be a more sustainable way to live on our planet, more exploration (not exploitation) of our Earth and Universe? Do you want to find a better way to deal with finding future sources of energy, clean water, clean air, land for everyone to enjoy? Your purpose is aligned with the realm of the Earth.
Which topic excites you the most? How does your heart, mind, and instinct respond to each point? What challenge within that topic would you want to tackle? Which invokes the most passionate response within you? Which one are you drawn to the most?
I leave you with my favorite poem trying to define success:
What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.
Bessie Anderson Stanley (traditionally attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Remember that the simple things in life are typically the best, and they are the toughest to discern as they typically reside right before our eyes and we can often not see them. Happy pondering!
If you want to explore this further there is a terrific resource for that in the book “What color is your parachute?” by Richard N Bolles.