Photo by Mike Baird
We spend our lives in search of success. But what does success look like? It depends on who you listen to.
If you listen to our capitalistic society, success is all about how you look to others: your house, your car, your clothing, your partner, your vacations, your purchases, and the company you keep. The road to success is easy: buy more (fancy) stuff. Since there’s always something newer/fancier to buy, businesses are happy to satisfy your need for success. And it’s an endless cycle – you can never achieve success because success is a mirage. As you get closer to it, you find it’s still shimmering on the horizon. And if you manage to achieve some level of “success”, you spend endless hours trying to maintain the image. There isn’t a finish line to success – it’s simply an illusionary moment in time.
Instead, imagine yourself already successful. In this world, success is having meaningful purpose in your life, meaningful friendships, and appreciation for what you already have. The good news about this definition of success is that you don’t have to buy anything. You don’t have to prove anything. You don’t have to look a certain way. Instead, you have to be willing to creating meaning in your life. You have to be willing to ignore the external “buy me” noise and instead focus on the inner “wisdom” voice.
Need some instructions on finding your success? Read Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness : Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment.