I am successful if I have a great job that pays well. I am successful if I have a relationship and am married to ‘Prince Charming’. I am successful if I am recognized and acknowledged as an expert in my field. I am successful if I have my dream home with a white picket fence, two kids and dog. I am successful if I drive a certain car. I am successful if I am getting a pat on the back from my boss. I successful if I have fame, recognition and praise.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of success is:
1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
2. The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.
Over the years, social conditioning has led us to believe in a distinct definition of success. We’re taught that money and power are everything. That we need to push harder, climb higher, and accrue more materially. That being endlessly busy, being the first in the office, eating at your desk, and working 17 hour days are things to be applauded.
For most of my life, I bought into these beliefs. In fact, it wasn’t until I started my inward journey that I even became aware of them. Before that, my measure of success was always gauged by external influences — how much I earned, the gigs I was getting, the level of hotness of my boyfriends, and the amount of social recognition I was getting.
But let me tell you: when your life is ruled by these kinds of yardsticks, you’re setting yourself up for trouble. You are never fulfilled (and never truly happy) because you are always searching outside yourself.
I also used to believe that you had to work extremely hard (sacrificing your health, happiness, sanity and relationships) in order to be “successful”. It wasn’t until after I hit rock bottom and turned inward that I realised I was carrying around someone else’s definition of success and that it wasn’t even my own. When I stopped and asked myself what do I believe success is, I couldn’t find the answer. It’s taken years for me to figure it out and refine it, but this is what I now believe to be true: