What does ‘Success’ mean?
This is one of those questions I have pondered over for quite some time. The problem with this question is that — it is highly relative. My success might not be your success. So we should re-phrase the question into ‘What does Success mean to you?’.
As with most of things, my theory is that there are ‘Society Metrics’ for ‘Success’. Across the world, I believe, Money is a Society agreed metric for success. In conservative countries like India, a good education (aka engineer/doctor), followed by marriage (before it is tooooo late), followed by a car (sedan means more success), followed by having 2 children (you better stick to 2), followed by buying an apartment (if possible a villa) pretty much sums up a ‘successful’ life. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not against any of these. My only point here is, there is a checklist which your culture will put on you when you are born. As you keep growing, you keep checking off this list leaping from ‘success’ to ‘success’.
But are those the actual success you would define for yourself if you were given a blank whiteboard? (you are sent to the world like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator without a child to save and now asked to define your success).
Don’t get caught up in metrics which someone else places on you. You are a free bird to define your own metrics. I don’t think about success as an endpoint or destination. It is a journey. It is a series of small events.
Personally for me, I define Success as a life with no regrets
At any point of time, if I look back, I don’t have regrets, I pat my back saying I’m on the right track. I also see happiness to be very close to success. If you are happy about what you did or choose, then you don’t have regrets and you are in the ‘journey of success’.
How do I make sure that I continue in this journey? Whenever there is a question in front of me, I will think whether my decision will make me regret at a later point of time and I try to take the best decision possible. Sometimes, I end up doing the wrong things (mistakes), then my question to myself would be — ‘Is there a way to reverse the negative effects, if any?’. The reversal might be a lot of additional work , might be acknowledging the mistake and apologizing, or might be a simple re-thought about whole scenario. I do those without thinking twice. Coz, I don’t want to regret later that ‘I could have done it’.
In some cases, there is absolutely no reversal (in very few cases, I’ve been here as well). Do I beat myself to death? Not really. I will feel bad, may be really bad. But we are humans, we make mistakes and we try our best to revert it. But if it doesn’t happen, With time, I slowly leave the matter and move on and vouch never to repeat it again. One of the reasons why I’m able to leave the matter because these mistakes were unintentional. To leave an intentional mistake would be far more difficult, since you will repent/regret taking a wrong decision intentionally.
Another statement I keep close to myself and executes is ‘Do my best, leave the rest’
This is a good theory to follow since, your chance of regrets are far more less in this case. If you have really given everything, then there is/was nothing more you could do. Hence no regrets.
If you haven’t thought about your success, I urge you to sit back, take as much time as you want and think through this. Your definition of your success will help you decide/define other aspects of your life (like career, relationships, extra curricular etc) and will become one of your decision making frame work. Whenever you are in a decision making dilemma, you can simply think “Is this something which will take me closer to my success?”. If yes, you’d better do it. Welcome to the ‘Journey of success’.