Its ain’t as much about ‘what success looks like’ as it is about what success looks like to ‘YOU.’
The word ‘success’ literally translates to the achievement of goals.
Fundamentally, it relates to a sense of contentment on seeing yourself in a place in life that you have always visualized, a life that is complete, fulfilled, and acknowledged, often with rewards and appreciation.
This is one reason why ‘success’ these days is primarily judged by material parameters like high-paying jobs, wealth, purchase power, large opulent living spaces, luxe lifestyle, power to influence, high social status, academic achievements, awards, etc.; parameters that can be easily judged and tangibly measured.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this materialistic undertone of success, be rest assured that this is certainly not what success actually looks like.
For all you know, there are people in the world that have achieved every momentous milestone they ever wanted to achieve yet go to bed feeling purposeless and unsuccessful.
At a deeper level, the tapestry of ‘success’ is an intricate interweaving of individualistic goals (materialistic or otherwise) and the level of happiness you attain on achieving it or, sometimes, ‘not’ achieving it.
So, when you set your course to find the answer to ‘what does success look like,’ try and rephrase it to ‘what success looks like to me’ instead.
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What Does Success Look Like To Me?
There was a time when I succeeded in not succeeding in a certain goal that meant the world to me then but could have foiled every other attempt at succeeding in those essential spheres of life where I truly needed to succeed in order to survive and thrive.
The picture of success is unique and individual. To some, having more money, power, and social presence is a success.
Living a minimal yet complete life with family is a success to some. To some, not smoking for 100 days at a stretch is a success worth celebrating.
Given the pied perception of success and the fact that it can have as many definitions as the number of people currently inhabiting the planet, here’s a list of commonalities that I use as benchmarks while painting the silhouette of success.
Keep Ticking As Many As Applies To You!
What Does Success Look Like To Me?
When You Don’t Need To Use Everything And Everyone As A Prop To Promote Yourself
You know you’re successful when you don’t have to beat your own drums till the crowd turns deaf to your din. You are at a stage where your reputation precedes you.
When You Stop Defining Your Life By Your Insecurities
You know you’re successful when you are perfectly aware of who you are and what you need from life and content with what you already have. You don’t mold your life by your insecurities.
When You Are Free To Make Your Own Decisions
You know you’re successful when you’re the boss of your own life, when you don’t have to compromise and bend your decisions to bow unnecessarily before the interests of others.
When You Get To Live Your Dreams
Say, for example, if it has always been your dream to escape the city humdrum and live in the pristine greenery of the suburbs, and you go ahead and achieve it somewhere down the timeline; you are successful! Count all your dreams that you have already achieved. You are successful already!
When You Are Debt Free And Can Pay Your Own Bills
Consider yourself successful if you are financially independent and are perfectly in control of your debts. It doesn’t have to be a million-dollar paycheck. But you are super successful if it is enough to cover your bills and spare a little for a weekend getaway.
When You Don’t Feel The Need To Justify Your Choices
Your life, your choices, and if your folks have accepted you irrespective of your idiosyncratic life’s choices without you walking miles to justify them, consider yourself successful.
When You Have Something To Give To Those In Need
Have you helped someone in need? If you have enough resources to help the lesser fortunate and make their life a little easier, your success level is literally godly.
When You Look At Yourself Without Complaints
Consider yourself successful when you look at the person in the mirror with all her flaws yet love her just the way she is. No complaints, no insecurities, no hopelessness, no explanations, just intoxicated with the exuberance of ‘existing.’
When Your Confidence And Self-Worth Are Not Defined By Material Possessions
Read this again. ‘Wealth is the after-effect of success.’ For instance, how many success stories have you read that started with a million dollars?
Success stories scream defeats, struggles, pennilessness, wrong decisions, fails, falls, tears, and depression, followed by grit, determination, courage, efforts, more efforts, and slivers of hope that suddenly burst into a million dazzling suns.
If your material possessions have been a gift from your dad, try not to count them in your success meter. It’s your ancestor’s success, not yours.
When You Stop Comparing Yourself With Others
You know you are truly successful when you stop tallying your success grades with others because you know that at any point in life, there will be people accomplishing the same goal as yours with greater glory and those that are miles away from the target. You are content with your level, and no one can tell you otherwise.
Comparison Kills Success
No matter what you achieve in life, it will always look smaller and irrelevant when compared with the stellar success stories of others, especially the glamorized ones that receive a thousand likes from god-knows-who in social media.
If you keep comparing, your success is sure to look like a failure.
Therefore, STOP Comparing. Remember, you are the only scale in your success meter.
Law Of Attraction And Success
Many times, lost in our efforts to achieve star-studded milestones, we often forget to take a look and be grateful for how successful we already are.
The Law of Attraction clearly states you always attract what you ‘feel.’ Therefore, it will always be easier for you to attract greater success if you ‘feel successful already’ and be grateful for it.
*Need to know more about Law Of Attraction techniques for success? Stay tuned for my upcoming articles!
Step By Step Guide To Be Successful With A Little Example From My Life!
If you break down everything you do in 24 hours into mini-milestones, be rest assured, you’ll count more successes than otherwise.
What Does Success Look Like?
Sometimes, it looks like mini tick marks against daily goals that lead to a pre-visualized outcome!
Here’s a quick guide to get you started right now.
Set A Goal That You Truly Connect With And Can Achieve With Conscious Efforts
I decided to be a motorcyclist at age 40. Nothing crazy; just ticking off my bucket list. Now, if it was my goal to ride a licensed T-Rex, I may be successful only in my dreams or, perhaps, Disney World.
So, start with consciously choosing an outcome that you can actually visualize opening champagne bottles too. It has to be a goal you personally connect with and certainly not what others feel you should.
Map Out A Plan That Will Help You Achieve It
I took a rider fitness test, chose a compatible motorcycle, signed up for motorcycle training lessons, and watched regular videos on training tips, riding guides, safety tips, traffic rules, and more.
Sit down, take a piece of paper and pen and write down every step that you can possibly take towards achieving this goal. Try using bullet points; it always makes ticking easy.
Set A Timeline
In the view of my instructors, I should be able to ride comfortably by the third day, get on the road after a month of practice and then apply for my license. Tadaaaa! Licensed motorcyclist by the next month and a half (at the most).
Now, if it is your aim to shed 80 pounds within a fortnight, you’ll have ample reasons to lose faith in success. Always set realistic timelines. Realistic timelines with a proper action map are your key to success faster.
Don’t Rush. Everything Happens At Its Own Time
One step at a time. Don’t rush yourself; be comfortable with your goals.
Remember, ‘fall’ is not ‘failure.’ Failure happens when you stop trying. A fall here and there can deaccelerate your endeavor for a while, but if you get up and keep going, be rest assured; your success story will end up living longer than you.
I would have seriously taken offense at this condescending advice had someone suggested it to me a year ago, but trust me, it works.
Do whatever it takes to keep moving towards your goal. If you have an action plan and set a timeline, you WILL reach your destination.
Measure success by the ‘level of contentment’ you experience after reaching your destination and not by the goal itself.
What does success look like to you? Do you have a story that can inspire people to define success differently? Do share; we are always happy to learn from your experiences 😊
Also read: 10 Valuable Life Lessons From Martin Luther King Jr.