When I’m a success, I’m going to hire someone to do my laundry. No more folding or dirty clothes!
That was my one of my announcements as an eight year old to anyone within earshot!
Although I confess to enjoying cleaning and doing laundry, the definition of success has been a wild ride!
It’s easy and tempting to get caught up in the expected and accepted indicators of success. Looking forward to a new car, a new house or new jewelry is something we can all relate to.
Ironically, we encourage children to set goals to help motivate them towards achievement.
Whether it’s mowing lawns to buy our first bike or pet sitting with the goal of a new PS4 game, we are motivated and rewarded by a tangible representation of our hard work.
Fast forward beyond high school, college and our first job and we’ve been there done that. The stakes are higher and our rewards become more expensive. Our experiences become multi dimensional and those things we looked forward to, fail to satisfy us.
As we mature in our outlook and needs, the material rewards we’ve earned increase in monetary value, while the satisfaction decreases.
Personal Definition of Success
Life experiences including loss of a loved one, having children and understanding how quickly life changes, can affect our personal definition of success.
Working towards a fancy new car or a new house can easily become an unhealthy pursuit, even an addiction.
We begin to lose our soul and direction and become fixated on someone else’s definition of success.
It’s also possible to become comfortable, complacent and unchallenged.
Continuing to set goals can avoid becoming fearful of change and keeps life interesting!
When we set personal goals related to health and wellness, we will be more successful if we focus on intrinsic motivation.
For example, wanting to look good for our high school reunion or wedding, or lose twenty pounds, is an external motivator.
Achieving a goal driven by extrinsic motivation has a short-term view.
When we reach our goal, there’s no maintenance or further improvement unless we set another goal.
Intrinsic motivation takes a longer term view.
Whether we want to keep up with our grandchildren, travel without pain or be independent in retirement, we will be more successful with a long term view.
Thoughts on Success
Success rarely comes without hard work.
Success is commonly recognized by material possessions with a high price tag.
However, success can also be intrinsically motivated with a long term view.
Perhaps doing work you love doesn’t fit the typical mould of success.
Do you define success as the enjoyment you get from working with physically disabled athletes or ensuring the elderly receive home cooked meals?
You are in charge of your definition of success and what you do to get there.
Well meaning family and friends will try to sway you, but if you truly believe, do not give up!
Do not let the failures prevent you from defining and refining your success!
No one said it would be easy.
If you’re looking to explore more about non traditional success, these short videos are worth listening to:
What have you discovered about success? How have your beliefs about success changed? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!