Success is over-rated.
OK, let me qualify that statement a little: to be more accurate, it’s not so much success that’s over-rated, but the deeply flawed projection of success that has seeped into our thinking and governed the trajectory of our lives – the projection of success that pulls you away from ever living the life you were made for – your real life.
You see, just as with the life you are living, there is success –real success – and there is pseudo-success – made up success. And it is that pseudo-success that is well and truly over-rated.
Pseudo-success is the so-called ‘success’ that you see all around you in the messages pushed by the media: of the career, the prestige car, the designer labels, the holidays on white sandy beaches that go on forever under unbroken blue skies, and the perfect house straight out of the home-ware catalogue.
It’s the one-size fits all benchmark that determines whether you should be congratulated or consoled over the state of your life.
And yet real success cannot ever be one-size-fits-all.
You see, success is intensely personal, and is not defined in terms of what you have, but in terms of who you are.
It really is this simple: are you the person you are meant to be? If you can answer “yes”, or “getting there”, then you are, at the very least, on your way towards success –real success.
Now, if you were made for the high-flying career with the big bucks and corner office, then success may well come with prestige cars, holidays on white sandy beaches, and designer labels; but it is not those things that make you a success. It is the fact that you are living the life you were made for that makes you a success, and those things – the cars, holidays and designer labels – are simply an outcome of you being the person you are meant to be – the real you.
I know only too well just how true this is. I chased that benchmark of success pushed onto me by the world around me. I worked hard to achieve that level and, before too long, I had the corner office, the car and the holidays. But, despite the fact that, in the eyes of the world, I had made it, for all the so-called trappings of success I managed to surround myself with, there was one thing I didn’t actually have –real success.
I was living the life I thought I was supposed to live, not the life I was meant to live. And, as a result, I was, in reality, about as unsuccessful as you could get. The life I lived was so far removed from the life that I was made to have – my real life – that no amount of ‘stuff’ – no amount of the trappings of so-called success – could take away the sense of discomfort and unhappiness I felt deep inside.
You see, you may not have the fancy car – you may not even have any type of car – but if you are living the life you were made for,you have achieved real success.
You may never have taken a holiday, or even ventured further than your city boundary, but if you are living the life you were made for,you have achieved real success.
You may not be able to even name a designer label, never mind own one, and you may get your wardrobe from the thrift store but – you guessed it – if you are living the life you were made for, you have achieved real success.
So figure out what success looks like for you. Maybe it is the career with the big bucks and all that goes with it. Maybe it’s raising happy, well-adjusted kids. Maybe it’s serving others in far off lands. Maybe it’s influencing change in the political or educational arenas. Or, maybe, it’s something else altogether. But whatever success looks like for you, figure it out, because that is the definition of real success –your real success.
Start the figuring out process with defining your ‘perfect day’. What does your perfect day look like? Where are you putting your efforts, who are you meeting with, what does your downtime look like, what’s happening in your family? When you know what your perfect day looks like, you know what success looks like. For you.
And, no matter what the world around you tells you, no matter what the people in your life want for you, always remember one simple fact: success is not one-size-fits-all, and there is no universal benchmark to measure a successful life.
Simply live the life you were made for and you will be successful.