Changing My Definition of Success

Hey everyone! Thanks for clicking on today’s post 🙂 I’m elated to have such an engaged and supportive audience.

This past week, I’ve been getting back into the swing of things…school, work, exercising, and the little, unexpected nuances that characterize our lives. It’s been a little difficult after such a great vacation, but it feels good to be back. Tonight I’m off to Melbourne for a 5k my friend is hosting to raise money for his grandma’s town in the Philippines. Sunday’s also the final World Cup game! I’m super excited to watch it. Next week is the last week of classes as well, so pray for me this weekend as I start studying for finals. You bet I can’t wait for them to be over 🙂

July is going by quickly and I have a lot going on, but I’ve felt a peace this month that I haven’t experienced in a long time. I think is due to a lot of things, but one new outlook has made a dramatic difference for me…

As many of you know, I take between 10-30 minutes a day to read a book. Sometimes they’re religious and others they’re motivational. Sometimes they’re even car magazines! I’m a huge advocate for doing so, because reading fosters growth. It forces us to open our minds to new viewpoints and look at life in different ways.

During my reading over the weekend, I came across a pretty simple concept. It’s one that’s often spoken about but seldom employed…changing our definition of success.

When I look back on my life, success has been many things. As a child, success was happiness. It was doing what I wanted to do with my life. From police officer to doctor, my imagination ran wild and nothing was going to stop me from achieving my goals. But that changed in high school and college for one reason: reality set in. I realized that I need money to survive and achieving those lofty goals was not easy…or so I thought.

Somewhere along the way, my definition of success no longer was my definition. Kids are plagued by adults telling them what they should be. Social media and society feed them definitions of success that they feel they must fulfill to experience happiness….

We must be wealthy. We must have a big house with a beautiful spouse, 2.6 children, 1.7 dogs, and drive 3.7 cars. Combine all of those influences, and what a kid truly wants takes a backseat, often times without them even knowing.

The sad part is that if we never address this in our younger years, we spend a majority of our lives chasing those goals. But why is that a bad thing? I’ll answer that with one question…how many elderly folks do you know that lie on their death bed wishing they’d made more money?

None. The truth is that none of what we think matters is actually important. What actually matters are the things that we neglect…family, friends, faith, and ourselves.

I’d venture to say that if we changed our definitions of success, we’d get so much more out of life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be wealthy or having 2.6 kids and 1.7 dogs. But if those are our only goals in life, I can promise that we will end up like the majority of people on their death beds…wishing we’d spent more time with their loved ones. Wishing we’d been more faithful and gave back to the world.

I’m not going to tell you what you should value or define success as. That’s for you to decide. But I can share how changing my definition has given me a greater sense of purpose.

As many of you know, I was in awe when I came back from Costa Rica, particularly because of its lifestyle. No one takes anything for granted, they care for others, and they enjoy every moment of life. They live a life Pura Vida.

I think we can all apply those values to our lives in some way and see immediate benefits. For example, Wednesday was my best friend’s birthday. Wednesday’s are also the days that I’m in school from 9:30am – 2:15pm. I wake up very early to workout before class. I spend my afternoons catching up on homework and then go to adoration at 6pm. I come home, make dinner, do homework, and then go to bed. In short, I’m super busy.

This is going to sound horrible, but ordinarily I wouldn’t have gone to see my best friend on her birthday. Yes, I know. But by the end of the day, I’m exhausted and changing around my whole day genuinely stresses me out.

But I went. I took the Costa Rican motto and applied it. I did what truly matters. I’ll get the homework done another day. But that’s not the point…even if I didn’t get my homework done another day, I invested in something more important. I invested in my friendship and memories because those are the things that are going to carry me through life.

And when I applied that to my future, my daily persona began to change. By seeing the future as a blessing, I have a weight lifted off my shoulders. I’m not chasing a concrete goal that’s going to consume my life. I’m chasing something more valuable and abstract that’s already bringing me joy.

And the truth is that when we do this, we begin to find joy. We begin to see what life is all about. We grow in new ways and experience life in a whole new manner.

What’s funny is that those original goals of money and 2.6 children come as a by-product. Because when we live life according to a fruitful definition of success, everything else comes naturally. We begin to enjoy what we do, so we work harder at it and perform with more passion. When we value the person and not the dollar, we are given more opportunities both at work and at home.

People like individuals who care about others…we are naturally drawn to them. And that’s what our society lacks today. We are building people around a poor definition of success, so we end up creating selfish individuals that leave the world in turmoil. Imagine if we taught our kids what to truly value in life. Imagine what the world could be…

So I hope that you join me in changing your definition of success. Start by taking quiet time over the weekend to figure out what you value. What do YOU think would make you successful in respect to those values? And remember, success is a process.

I hope you all enjoyed this post! Don’t forget to like, comment, and share. As always, thank you for reading 🙂

“Measure your success only by what truly matters: your happiness and the happiness you bring to others. If today you laughed, felt inspired, or consoled a friend, smiled to a stranger, stood for a cause, or inched closer to one of your dreams, then today was a resounding success.” ~ Beau Taplin

 

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