How Do You Define Success?

My friends and I are having a conversation one day about job satisfaction and fulfillment, and the years we’ve spent in the corporate world. Most of us have reached some degree of contentment in how our career paths turned out and some are still halfway towards reaching the top. By top I mean, the pinnacle of success. The latter, being a relative word.

People come from different backgrounds, culture, and upbringing. This fact plus the uniqueness of every person and the particular experiences each has gone through defines ones’ own personal view of what success really looks like and feels like.

Though I cannot accurately interpret these definitions from the viewpoint of others, let me share with you how success is pictured from my own view.

I started out life as an achiever mostly in academics. This winner mindset propelled me to give my best in everything that I do, be it at work, music or in any display of talent. While the experience proved an age-old wisdom that, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”, it rewarded me with a glimpse of joy. The problem was, that, to me, it was never enough. Pure, lasting joy, then became the cornerstone of my success definition.

Perhaps the excitement of being on top was just fleeting. The self-gratification was temporary. The applause lasted for a moment and the spotlight dimmed after some time. Perhaps age did catch up or life became more real as I’ve come face to face with my own mortality.

The transition took place moment by moment, piece by piece. Soon enough I found myself longing for something deeper, more profound, something seemingly elusive but more solid and real.
Then it finally made sense. Instead of chasing heavenly painted rainbows I was drawn to create my own.

Connecting the dots in my past helped me understand why there was sort of a lack. Something was missing despite the number of shining moments I have reveled in. There, I found a great hole carved out by the plain absence of meaning.

Everything I did then was for me. I took home the glory, for me. I was proving myself to the world, to other people, to people I didn’t even know. My sole focus at that time was to convince people of my own worth.

I realized later on, how exhausting this can be and so I abandoned that path. I trod on new waters and became fully aware of who I am and what I can do, create and contribute.

I started to believe that knowing my worth is enough. That forging meaning in what I’ve been tasked to accomplish in this world makes more sense. That giving is oftentimes more rewarding than taking. That fulfillment in it’s truest sense is an overwhelming feeling that’s not short-lived. Rather, it’s something that rewards your heart with boundless joy and serenity no words can even express.

In a sense, I became content in knowing that at the end of each day, I gave my all and I have put my heart and mind into the things that I do. That means then that I’ve got to make sure that whatever I do is worthy of my time because I’m exchanging every second of my life for it.

Come nightfall, I should be in a state where I can pat myself on the back and say, “You did a good job, today”, and my Creator simply nodding a proud yes. That my friend is, success, simplified, in my own terms.

Questions:

How about you? How do you see success from where you stand? Share your thoughts here.


Originally published at sundaewrites.com on August 12, 2018.