How do you define success? Is it the amount of moolah in your savings account? How about the value of your stock portfolio? The German car that’s parked in your garage? How about the casa to which that garage is attached? All of those things are nice (some of them are REALLY nice), but does having them equal success? What does success mean to you?
There’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to feeling personally successful. Since the very definition of success is different for each of us, this battle is so intensely personal. For example, the family structure that the Wee One and I have is by no means conventional, but it works for us. Some people may look at the fact that she moves between our home, her father’s house, and my parents on a regular basis as problematic, however it has provided her with a really good foundation. She is a lovely, well-mannered, sweet little thing…and she seems to be very happy. Her smiles and kindness towards those around her are great indications of my success to me – she’s turning out pretty well so far. Let’s cross the fingers that we emerge from the teenaged years relatively unscathed!!
Other folks define their success solely by their careers…which I think is narrow, but to each their own. I get asked from time to time what my ambitions are. Generally, I think people are trying to ascertain my desired career trajectory (which is cool that they care)….although I don’t really have a good answer for them. I have all sorts of ideas of jobs that I think would be groovy, but I love my current school so much that I never want to leave. Instead, I tell them that I want to spend my life being the kind of person that people will have good things to say about. Being kind and treating people well matters more to me than just about anything. The thought of me being an asshole is just not something that I can accept. Now, don’t think that I’m some sweet Pollyanna who is a doormat and a wallflower rolled into one ball of insipid fun. I can – and do! – definitely stand up for myself, but I try to do it as politely as possible. I believe that regardless of what I achieve in this lifetime, the most important things are being a good person, and raising an even better one. Everything else is just gravy.
Some people care a whole whole lot about owning stuff….it’s kind of that old strange mentality of he with the most toys wins. Do you agree? While I think it would be super- nice to own all the finest things that I could ever possibly want, I know that thinking is highly impractical. Nice things are nice to have, don’t get me wrong….but they don’t matter nearly as much as people. I think that remembering the things that are important in life – your family, your friends, your Boo, your spirituality, your home life – are the things that make you successful.
I don’t define success by having a busy and productive life, either…if I did, then I would be San Antonio’s version of Bill Gates or some other Titan of industry. I’m aware that I’m a bit more of a go getter than the average bear…but I don’t think I’m too terribly unusual. Are you a super-busy person? Do you like being that way? Or, do you prefer having very little going on in your life? I am a super-busy bee, which is pretty much how I roll, but locating like-minded people can be TOUGH, friends! Do you know how bloody many people are kinda lazy? Content to just sit there, see how it goes, let life happen to them? Way too many, friends….trust me, I seem to find all of them. What ever happened to ambition? Motivation? Getting shit done so that you can make your dreams come true? I just don’t get it. Life will go on, friends, whether you want it to or not. Rather than being a passive passenger, wouldn’t you prefer instead to be an active actinger? ( so not a word, but it bloody well should be) I find this to be such a huge issue, and I’m not sure why. I am not in charge of somebody else’s destiny, any more than they are responsible for mine. I need to do me – and let them do them. It just bugs me. Apparently I need a hobby. Perhaps I should take up knitting?
I think that when it comes to contemplating success, it may be time to reshape our thinking. There’s been articles recently on the optimum salary for happiness…have you heard about this? It’s not $500,000 or even $250,000 (nice though that would be!)- it’s $75,000. A nice chunk of change, yes? But not as high as I’d have thought. You? Researchers have found that anything above that amount provides negligible happiness, and often more headaches. You can read that study here…I’m fascinated by it. :-).
All of these things can lead to success, depending on how you look at it. I think they real key is determining what matters to you, figuring out the things that you need to feel happy and successful, and then planning and working like a mo’fo to make sure you achieve them. Good luck – I know you can do it!