What does success look like? Certainly, this can only be measured by your own standards. Society bases success on financial abundance. Great wealth and notoriety go hand in hand with the concept that we have “made it.”
What is your end game?
Those who instruct us about what we need to have and do to get to success also think that money is the end game. But is this really what everyone wants? Is money or renown something that we all want or need? Do I really want to be followed or photographed daily? Do I want my privacy invaded or my financial decisions questioned? Do I want to worry that those in my inner circle are there because they care for me or because of my money and fame?
I have my own definition of success. Certainly, most would not want my life, but that is what makes it mine. I don’t really care if anyone else wants what I want. Perhaps this is maturity or after having seen what the standard definition of success brings to those who have “it all.” I don’t want that. I want a comfortable life that allows me to enjoy the things I love, most of what I truly value requires little money. I don’t need a lot. I want to enjoy my friends and family, writing, working with others, and appreciating the outdoors in its various forms. Would having a ton of money make life easier? Yes perhaps, but then again, I might lose my hunger. My hunger for life.
I thought of this topic after viewing a documentary about Ozzy Osbourne*. This man went from rags to riches. Why? He was hungry. He had nothing to lose. He did poorly in school; could not keep a job and had a learning disability and possibly ADHD. After hearing the Beatles play he knew what he wanted to do and nothing else was an option. He went after the one thing he loved because not doing it was more painful. Granted, the man went mongo-crazy and became a drug addict and alcoholic for most of his life. But according to most people’s standards, he had it all… and lived to talk about it.
If you conduct a quick Google search for, “How to be successful” the top 3 results are as follows. I have included the links:
The problem with all of these (in my humble opinion) are that each are formulas for other people. These are the things that worked for someone else. Not you. You are an individual. You are unique. You are not a formula or set of guidelines that are easily packaged into a simple step-by-step recipe. It just doesn’t work like that. Are there best practices for business? Yes. Are there good ideas out there for good health or wealth management? Yes again. But to be “successful” you must first define who you are. You must first decide what success looks like for you. YOU must decide what you want out of life and what you are willing to sacrifice, because there will be sacrifices.
I am issuing a challenge. Make a list of successful people. What did they do to become that way? You will likely find many had hunger; a desire so strong that it overwhelmed everything else. You will find that getting a big break is a big element as well, the stoic philosopher Seneca** is often credited for the quote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” You will also find a lot of rule breaking, both of their own and societies standards. And finally, you will likely find that very few of them were thinking about success when they started. They were not thinking about the end game, they were thinking about NOW.
My Two Cents Worth
My last tidbit here will be this: If you are miserable where you exist now or cannot see a way out of your situation and you keep thinking, “If I had a million dollars,” or something fantastical like that, your problem is not about obtaining success, fame or fortune. You need to change your thinking. You need to discover your direction and only you know how to do that for you.
Help Without Formulas
I won’t pretend that I have all your answers, because I do not. I am a Transformation Coach. What I offer is my set of well-honed skills and training that I use to help guide you back to yourself. I help you identify your obstacles and challenges so that you can determine your recipe for success. No magic. No top ten list. Just you.
** Although the quote is attributed to Seneca it is more of a paraphrasing/summary of his statements.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Has been attributed to Seneca since the 1990s (eg. Gregory K. Ericksen, (1999),Women entrepreneurs only: 12 women entrepreneurs tell the stories of their success, page ix.). Other books ascribe the saying to either Darrell K. Royal (former American football player, born 1924) or Elmer G. Letterman (Insurance salesman and writer, 1897-1982). However, it is unlikely either man originated the saying. A version that reads “He is lucky who realizes that luck is the point where preparation meets opportunity” can be found (unattributed) in the 1912 The Youth’s Companion: Volume 86. The quote might be a distortion of the following passage by Seneca (who makes no mention of “luck” and is in fact quoting his friend Demetrius the Cynic):
“The best wrestler,” he would say, “is not he who has learned thoroughly all the tricks and twists of the art, which are seldom met with in actual wrestling, but he who has well and carefully trained himself in one or two of them, and watches keenly for an opportunity of practising them.” — Seneca, On Benefits, vii. 1