Luck and chance play large roles in success, so it’s essential to not feel bad when the stars fail to line up in the way they are expected. Most people who dig a little deeper and define success in new ways will find they already have more success than they could have possibly imagined. Being happy with what we have now is the greatest success.
Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.
As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Riya Aarini.
Riya Aarini writes fiction for children as well as short fiction for readers of all ages. Visit her author website to learn more about her creative work: www.riyapresents.com.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
Life is an ocean of opportunities for learning, and I am a sponge soaking up all the knowledge that life has to offer. Learning is a lifelong pursuit, and I never tire of it. I make progress, but the pursuit of knowledge will never be complete; something new presents itself every day, every moment. Life is wild and can never be tamed or fully mastered. Acquiring knowledge is a gradual and joyful process that has shaped who I am today.
We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?
For the longest time, I subscribed to the materialistic version of success. This was an incredibly frustrating time, because it was nearly impossible to attain. Even if I even remotely achieved the littlest bit of this type of success, I felt unsatisfied. “This is it?” I asked myself. Of course, anyone would feel unfulfilled, because this sort of success is based on how OTHERS perceive it to be, rather than personal ideals.
Consider this fictional conversation:
“When you’re successful, you’ll be happy.”
“Why not I be happy first, and then success will be a natural outcome?”
Even if we do not become successful in the way it is superficially defined, striving toward goals gives us happiness. And isn’t that the point of success, to be happy? To feel fulfilled? To feel one has lived to one’s fullest potential?
How has your definition of success changed?
The definition of success has changed little in the last 2,000 years or so. Cleopatra of Egypt is still admired to this day for her wealth, power and beauty. Society’s version of success has remained at a standstill and would benefit from an urgent overhaul.
My definition of success has changed. While it’s fine to prize riches and power, I value doing my genuine best; there’s no better remedy for superficial notions of success than the quality of one’s efforts.
The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?
Accessing success starts with self-reflection. We are already on the road to success, simply by assessing what has true meaning for us as individuals. Knowing what has personal value to us helps us work toward those ideals, and this ultimately leads to success in whatever way we define it.
What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.
One positive offshoot of the pandemic is that society no longer places a high value on greater monetary compensation — which equates to placing less value on material wealth.
Society is starting to realize that life involves being fulfilled in ways other than by what money can buy. We are seeing this even as employers continue to offer more pay to recruit valuable workers — yet people are realizing what really matters in this world is not always economic status, and are resisting biting the bait.
We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”
- Success is not guaranteed, and success does not guarantee happiness. People have achieved immense success, but are they any happier than those who have not attained acclaim on the world stage? It’s important to redefine success in a way that can be realistically met by personal standards — rather than impossible external benchmarks. Some people raise happy families, and, to them, this is plenty of meaningful success. The definition of success is as varied as the nearly eight billion people on earth.
- Success as defined by others is not in anyone’s control. Giving one’s best is within an individual’s control. For instance, an artist can create a work of art that she believes the world will wholeheartedly embrace — but instead, it sinks. The same artist releases a work of art without thinking much of it — and the world clamors for more. No one can consistently tell when a product, art or service will authentically connect with the masses. If predicting success were so easy, success would follow a typical recipe and be attainable by everyone — and, unfortunately, lose its universal, enigmatic appeal.
- The definition of success will always be subjective and susceptible to variation by the standards of the time. However, a well-defined, personal definition of success has a greater chance of being experienced here and now, or, at least, in one’s lifetime.
Plus, by investing fully in a product or passion, there is little room for failure. The success and satisfaction are simply in the doing.
4. Luck and chance play large roles in success, so it’s essential to not feel bad when the stars fail to line up in the way they are expected. Most people who dig a little deeper and define success in new ways will find they already have more success than they could have possibly imagined.
Being happy with what we have now is the greatest success.
5. If the majority of people honestly assess their situation, they will find that the success they have is enough; it simply requires a perspective shift. Dissatisfaction with our level of success, in whatever form, only leads down a path of discontentment. However, feeling satisfaction with our current level of success leads to increased happiness — and happiness is among the precursors for greater success. Happiness is oftentimes the goal of success, to feel a sense of flourishing in the life we are given.
How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?
Improvement in our lives can be achieved by applying a simple equation:
Changing our definition of success to one that is attainable = less dissatisfaction + more satisfaction.
What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?
Feeling stuck in a predefined notion of success, one that is oftentimes contrary to our personal definition of success, is a major obstacle. Those who do not take the time to introspect and figure out what values are important to them mostly experience this hurdle.
Overcoming the obstacle is easy, but takes effort and time. Anyone who wishes to make giant leaps over this obstacle is advised to reflect on what truly increases their fulfillment, purpose and happiness — and this will likely be independent of what family, friends, community leaders or others say should make them feel happy and successful.
Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?
Ironically, our present-day ideas of success are continually challenged by the wisdom of the ages. Since at least two thousand years ago, the wise few, from Seneca to Marcus Aurelius, have shunned the materialistic notions of success. I remain inspired by their work.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.
Ellen Degeneres. Her comedic brilliance would have me laughing up a storm, and I’d never get a chance to have a forkful of breakfast.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Or visit my author website: www.riyapresents.com.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.