Four Elements of Success

There are many external gauges we can use to convince ourselves we are successful – money, status, where we live, who our friends are, grades, degrees, awards.

But all of these things are transient. Things that once they are achieved, are signs of our past success, not our current success. If we use these external gauges, we always have to prove, and re-prove that we are successful. We can never be satisfied with our where we are currently if we base our success on what we’ve done in the past, or what we plan on doing in the future.

What happens if we lose our status, lose our jobs (or fail to get a job even though we have degrees), our friends fail us, or the awards we have earned mean nothing to the people we love (or we lose the abilities that allowed us to get the awards in the first place)?

Success that is based on external measurements is never certain, never stable, and completely out of our control. Something can come along from the outside and mess it all up for us. The rules can change, people’s perceptions can change, life can happen.

What truly makes us successful are things that only we can control, and only we can measure from our own perspectives:

1) Integrity

2) Authenticity

3) Acceptance and adaptability (in other words, resourcefulness)

4) Purpose

If we have these four things, it doesn’t matter what happens on the outside, we are successful. These four things create success internally, which by consequence, creates success on the outside.

Think of all the people in your life who are truly successful. People who always seem to bounce back. Who seem genuinely happy with life. Who enjoy their jobs, don’t seem to be dragged down by circumstance, always seem to have a way out. And ask, what makes them successful? My guess, is they will have these four traits. And they may not have what seems like the outwards signs of success. Or perhaps, they do have outwards signs of success, but these outwards signs are not what they place first as the most important. They are consequence of being successful, not the cause.

Being successful is a choice. It’s a choice we can make right this moment. It’s amazing how a shift in perspective is all it takes to create success.

“All it takes”, which can take a lifetime to change, and can be so difficult. But it’s worth it. There’s nothing like feeling successful no matter what – it’s a state of being that any of us are lucky to achieve in our lives. It’s also a state of being that our children are born with. Perhaps our challenge, as adults, is to nurture that in our children, so they don’t ever lose it.

Can you imagine, an entire life of success from babyhood to old age? I think our children have that chance. At least, to get pretty darn close.

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2 Responses to “Four Elements of Success”

  1. ChristineMM Says:

    I enjoyed this post as I fully agree with you and am living through this right now. With the loss of my husband’s job, things have been shaken up and it is a different way to be, to live with an uncertain future, to know that the best laid plans did not work out, to be unable to get a job no matter what good things, the right things, are done by him in the job seeking process.

    One important thing also is the role of purpose. Some people, and also especially men, I think, think their purpose in life is to work, either to do the work itself and/or to earn an income to support a family. So when a husband who is also a father and also the sole breadwinner loses his job he might think he is not living his purpose any longer.

    Another big discussion would be “what is one’s purpose in life” and to try to define that NOT by transient things like “working at X career field” or “working at X corporation” or “climbing the career ladder”. I am talking about a person having a purpose in the role of the husband, the father, or having a purpose doing other things in life. My husband has been busy doing volunteer work since his light schedule now allows it, so in one way, he is doing something beneficial for the community. He is also helping a lot with his terminally ill father, a very important role. However in America most people probably would say that although my husband is a good husband, a great father, a good son, helpful to family in times of need, and helping the children in the community through Cub Scouts, that he is not “successful” as he has no job and no income—and some may say he ‘has no purpose’ as he is not currently a part of ‘working America’. It could be talked about in relgious and spiritual ways too, that although he is living life as he feels Christ approves, some would say that doesn’t matter a whit, that it is irrelevent when measuring his purpose or his success.

  2. Robin Says:

    I love this post. Thanks!


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