How to Define and Measure Success
How do You Define Success?
People are Most Successful When They Have More:
If you want to have guaranteed success, there is only one way. It's not a secret. The secret of success has nothing to do with a secret, or "The Secret." It has everything to do with your values and beliefs. A definition of success is: "The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted."
The secret to success is not in the "achievement" part of the definition of success. The secret of success is in what you decide to desire, plan, and attempt. By this definition, you automatically set yourself up for disaster when you attempt, plan, or desire something that is unfulfilling for you. Even if you achieve your goal, you will not find fulfillment in that "success." So in order to find true success, we must ignore what goals others are telling us to reach and focus on the goals that we find fulfilling. This may sound simple, but people waste lifetimes without ever asking themselves what would make them truly successful.
How Successful is Your Grave Marker?
The First Problem of Success: You Will Die
The first problem of success occurs when you realize you have limited time to live. This happened to me a few years ago. Although I'm still in my twenties, the realization that I am mortal has shaped my view of success.
My most scarce resource became my limited time. That scarcity of time is something that we all, as humans, share. Even a centenarian who lives past 100 years has scarcity of time. And with time becoming more scarce, value of my time has increased.
I automatically conclude that valuing time can be something worth pursuing for success. Using what time I have effectively becomes a goal in itself. Goal number one for success is "using limited time well." If you think I am saying that you should be some impatient jerk, you are missing the point. This is just an early stage of finding true success. Value your limited time, and know that life is short.
Define Your Own Success
You must define success on your own regardless of what the media, your family, teachers, friends, and others have told you. Success can be the most difficult or the most easy thing you ever attempt. Success can completely fulfill your desires or disappoint you to the point of suicide. Success can give you purpose or it can waste your most precious resources. Success is as close or as far as you want it to be.
This is the "desire" part of success. Ask yourself what you truly desire in your short life. It may become clear that having an expensive sports car is no longer your most important definition of success when you realize you're going to die soon.
Success is Not Easily Marked
How to Find Your Own Success
You may wonder what the plan for being successful should be. That is for you to decide, but there are some questions you can ask yourself to point yourself in the right direction. Finding true success is more about opening your mind to a new perspective and way of thinking than you have tried in the past. And if you are wondering if you are already aiming for the "right" kind of success, then you are probably heading in the right direction. At least you are questioning. That is the first step.
- When was the last time I thought about how I spend my time in the perspective of eternity?
- What do I want to accomplish by the time I take my last breath?
- What am I doing now that is wasting my precious time?
- What changes should I make to be more successful?
Wisdom is a Tool for Success
Question Everything: Gain Wisdom
Wisdom is your ally when searching for success. In order to find the kind of wisdom that brings understanding, nothing can be assumed. You must question your reason for being, what purpose you can fulfill, and how you will know if you get there.
This sounds easy, but it can easily take a lifetime to answer these core questions of being. The act of opening your eyes, ears, and mind will allow you to gain a mind of your own in time. You will be able to understand and be wise, make good decisions, and control your own success. This is a prerequisite to success because you must have a purpose to know what to work for and ultimately measure your success.
What is Your Target in Life?
The Real Get Rich Quick: Success is Finding True Riches You Already Have
True riches sounds cliché because it is. Let's start by exploring monetary riches. Here's a simple question/answer session.
Q: What kind of success do monetary riches provide?
A: Easy life, security, ability to be generous, opportunity, nice things.
Q: Why do you want these things?
A: These things provide comfort, and general good feelings.
Q: Why are some rich people without comfort and general good feelings, while others are comfortable and have general good feelings?
A: There is something other than money that supplies these things. Something inside the person.
Q: What is it inside those people who are able to find comfort and general good feelings without being rich?
A: An ability to "achieve something planned, desired, or attempted."
This is evident in: the artist creating a work of art that satisfies him, in the child finally making a basket after several times, a couple finally getting a pregnant when they want a baby, a teacher getting his class engaged in a topic that is challenging. These are things that cannot be bought and that rich people may be less likely to experience.
If I was "rich" enough to have expensive video game consoles when I was younger, I would not have played instruments as much. I might have less joy in my life now playing "Guitar Hero" instead of playing guitar at my church in worship of my God. You'd have to chop my hands off to take that from me, and even then, I'm going to try to learn to play with my feet.
As you shape your views of what will be succuss in your own life, ask yourself the purpose of the things you do. Is there purpose to me writing this very hub? I believe so. If I didn't think so, then this would be meaningless for me to write. My belief that this hub may get someone to question their own views of success and ultimately improve their life is enough for me to feel successful. It sounds sad, but this kind of "low expectation" view of mine is very freeing. I am free to feel a job well done without holding myself to some societal standard. I am free to succeed based on my own values.
Concluding Thoughts on Success
Think about a time when you wanted something for your birthday or Christmas. You salivated over it until you got it. Then you immediately jumped for joy when you got it. As you played with your new toy, you realized that it isn't really what you wanted in the first place. We have all experienced this lack of interest in something obsessed over. This could even be a relationship with someone, or a career choice.
You are immediately robbed of your success if you live your life saying, "If only I had..." only to feel unfulfilled when you get it. Instead say, "I know I can always..."
Here are some examples:
- I know I can always have a positive influence on other people's lives.
- I know I can always be generous with what I have.
- I know I can always worship my God.
- I know I can always forgive people without holding grudges.
- I know I can always enjoy nature.
- I know I can always search for more wisdom and understanding
These are some things that give me feelings of success. There are many more for you to evaluate as you think about how short and miserable human life can be. Free yourself from the unrealistic and poisonous pressure to live up to others' standards. Stop living a trivial life. Start living a meaningful, free, and successful life.
This is what I am working toward. I feel very successful, and yet, I know I have a way to go still.