Defining Success…

Sunday morning. As I watch the sun climb into the cloudless blue sky, I sit back and reflect, coffee in one hand, iPhone in the other. A morning like many other, and surely, another day I will treat like all the days that have passed before it. Today, I tell myself, will be different. Today, I will awaken, I will rise, I will acknowledge the new beginning that each moment brings and will treasure every breath as though it were my last. At the mere thought of this ephemeral journey, I tremble with fear that precious Time may leave me behind, while I still have so much to do. And so, I must act now. I must…

We all experience these tender moments, a simple thought becomes an overwhelming impetus to act, and if we don’t act soon enough, that fleeting sensation wears off and the day passes just like other days before it. But today, I commit to act, to acknowledge that I can no longer defer to the next day what I have been planning for so long. Today, I will resolve to pen the first few words of that book I want to publish before year-end, start planning the next trip to that special destination on my Instagram feed, take the first actions in starting up that new business venture. So, today I resolve to act, to acknowledge that my own happiness, physical, mental and spiritual health, and that earthly success depends first on what I can do for myself, and then for others. Success is, after all, the product of our actions, mixed with the sweat of our efforts, relentless desire and determination.

We write personal success with our own hands, inspire it with every breath, visualize it with every word and bring it to life with every action. But what is success? Merriam-Webster describes it as the following:

Definition of success

2b : favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

  1. 3 : one that succeeds

How you define success defines who you are, who you are becoming and how others see you. What’s more, the world changes when you realize that your success lies in your own hands, mind and heart.

So, what is success you ask?

Success first comes from the ability to know yourself and to understand what motivates you, what makes you get out of bed and what drives you to accomplish throughout your day. Some walk in the dark shadows of their thoughts, while others drive towards self-realization with every action and every breath as if it were their last. Success is writing and refining your mantra and whispering it at dawn, realizing it at noonday, revisiting it at dusk, and reviewing it as you guard it close to your heart when you lay to sleep and prepare to face the next day and take on a new challenge.

You may have heard it before, but if you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of others. Accepting this maxim will help you learn that success springs from that fount of selfless self-affirmation, from a good lifestyle and positive habits of self-preservation through positive physical, mental and spiritual health. Start the day with some meditation, eat well, exercise and take on it on with a fresh and positive outlook. And when you come home, reflect, meditate, spend time away from your work with those you love, read a good book and get a good night’s sleep. Some of us, in our pursuit to achieve during the day, end up robbing ourselves of the need for inner peace and a good night’s rest. In fact, the benefits of sleep on the activity of the mind, something that has mystified scientists for thousands of years, is finally being understood in modern research on how “sleep serves to reenergize the body’s cells, clear waste from the brain, and support learning and memory. It even plays vital roles in regulating mood, appetite and libido.” So, when our body rests, it can regenerate the events of our day into thought-actions and like a wondrous registry, rebuilds the energy we’ll need for our next adventure. So, after a good night’s sleep, we can invigorate our mind and re-energize our heart to confront the next day and to be inspired to spreading goodness. And that brings us to another definition of success.

Success needs to be about doing good, simply put, it is about making a change first in yourself towards positivity, taking steps towards a continual affirmative change of the world inside of you as much as the world around you. It is a kind word or gesture to a friend or a stranger, giving of your wealth, sharing and spreading your knowledge. After all, what is wealth and knowledge if they are not spent through acts of charity and words of wisdom. Through this new self-awareness and by treating others with respect and kindness, we begin to acknowledge that success is about exercising our emotional intelligence with the aim of transforming the world around us, like a wand in our hand, to spread goodness, to make the earth a cleaner, safer and more positive home. Here, there is no room for spite, envy, bigotry, hatred or enmity. And that takes us to another definition of success.

One day, we will take that last breath and the only positive legacy we leave behind is the outcome of our actions. We can choose to leave a legacy where people remember us for the gifts we gave, the trees we planted, the children we mentored, the friends we cultivated, and the books we wrote. No amount of physical wealth can extend our life beyond this last breath; ironically, each of us still face each morning with a definition of success that betrays a vision of defining and refining the self, of helping others and making the world a better place. In a competitive culture of overworking, over-stressing and perhaps even under-achieving, we forget to truly live. It is as if we are moving through darkness like zombies, surviving from paycheck to paycheck, falling into the endless cycle of spend and want.

Surely, there must be more. Success can’t be defined merely as the ascent of the social or corporate ladder or the accumulation of wealth and dividends. The drive to succeed in life must involve the drive for instilling and cultivating positive change and role-modeling, leading from the heart, the fount of goodness, and from finding inspiration from intuition, the spiritual and primordial mind we describe as our “gut”. Once we have found the ability to strive toward achieving balance within ourselves, we need to focus on acting and transforming the world around us, at home and at work, to nurture a culture of diversity, growth, wellness and prosperity.

So today, as I sit and watch the sunrise and reflect on success, I won’t talk about it as a measure of wealth or social position; rather, I will muse over what I believe success means to me and hopefully, what it means to you. Let your success be defined as the measure of your ability to become the endless possibilities that lie within your reach, the summit of your dreams, the simple affirmation of knowing yourself and knowing others. Act with sincerity from the heart and lead by first changing for the better what lies in your sphere of influence, then follow through to change the world around you, to discover within your intimate boundaries of imagination the power to travel to distant borders across the earth and universe.

So, as you sit with your coffee in one hand and iPhone in the other reading this, here is to that success, yours and mine. Happy Sunday!

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