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