In life the barometer for success is perfectly simple. You are either happy or you’re not. The perception of personal success can come in many forms but the reality is straightforward. External perspective misconstrues the reality of our own experiences. People see the things that we have or what we are doing not who we are. They make assumptions on our success based on the size of ticks alongside the expected experiences and outputs of life.
- Are you the owner of your own house?
- Are you married?
- Do you have any kids?
- Do you have a good job?
- Are you rich?
- Are you well educated?
- Are you powerful?
- Do you holiday frequently?
- Do people respect you?
- Do a lot of people care about you?
The bigger the better, the more we have the greater admiration for what we have achieved. Life is distilled down to its constituent parts which distort the only thing that matters. What people see is the tiniest sliver of the idiosyncrasies which characterise our unique experiences through the materialistic elements of our lives. To assume a massive tick next to all of the above questions solves all misses the point. You can have every single one of them while remaining desperately unhappy while equally you can have none of the above and be perfect content and happy.
The ingredients then are simple. Passion and purpose are the most fulfilling routes to happiness and joy. If you pursue the things you care about most, which simultaneously affirm a sense of achievement, advancement, or significance, you have all the elements which enable success. Spending your most precious resource, time, doing the things you love, perhaps with the people you care about most, means you can’t lose.
Recognition of what those things are though isn’t simple. The only universal truth which is ubiquitous for all hard things is that they are difficult. Some people are fortunate and the serendipitously stumble upon theirs at an early age while others spend a lifetime searching and come up empty handed. Unfortunately there is no recipe for success and no guarantees.
What makes it so difficult is that you can fulfil all the expected criteria for success while failing on the most basic quintessential level. If you are not happy in your own skin nothing else matters. If you can’t learn to love yourself you disqualify others from doing so either. You succumb to the conventionally held belief that what other people thinks matters, you do the things that are expected of you in an attempt to appease them instead of doing the things you want to do. You must understand that everything that has become the expectations for we must live are self-perpetuated myths. They have only become expectations because of what we have been told or other people have imagined.
To be happy you need to do the things you want to do without consideration of how that meshes with social expectations. The recipe for success doesn’t include seeking approval or conformance to arbitrary laws, orders or ideals. If you love doing a specific thing or the way something feels do it irrespective of whether it makes other people feel uncomfortable. So long as you aren’t physically hurting other people through your actions they need to understand you are doing the things you require to be free and happy. Instead of criticisimg they must embrace their own instincts and pursue their true north.
More money won’t alleviate those feelings of unhappiness either. If you weren’t happy yesterday, you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money, it’s not happiness; the two are mutually exclusive. If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow. It’s money. Life gets easier when you don’t have to worry about the bills.
The pre-requisite though is that you are first happy. Success isn’t the money, happiness is.
People are conditioned to believe that the recipe for success is one that includes the most exclusive and expensive elements. That success is a mixture that must be rigorously managed to have just the right amount of everything but that is wrong.
Life has no goldilocks zone, no size fits all. Success is whatever we believe it to be, it is comprised of whatever things we need to be happy in ourselves.
Being happy is life’s biggest risk. It takes tremendous courage and bravery to be exactly who you want to be without compromises. It’s incredibly easy to reign in our own desires in order to placate others and fit in but to do so would be to betray your one opportunity at life and success.
So be bold, be brave and be happy.
By doing so you have all the ingredients for success.
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