For a long time, I have strived to get ahead in life, but I didn’t really know how to be successful in life. As the years have gone by though I have come to learn something about the path to success and how to achieve it. Now after having some time to practice the method, I am ready to share my perspective with you.
Per the norm here, let’s first take a look at what the definition of the word success is at Dictionary.com:
As you can see, according to them you basically achieve success by the completion of one’s goals, the attainment items or position, or as achieving honors. While these can all be markers of success, I have come to find myself that I have a much better way of measuring true success.
What is Wrong with the Classic Definition?
First let’s dive into the classic definition here and see how it is flawed and often leads to self-destructive behavior. Now first I would like to point out that it is not 100% wrong, but the general perspective that goes hand in hand with that leads you down a dangerous path.
You see achieving a goal is a success, but does that mean you are a successful person? We can all set goals, easy or hard, and achieve them, but that does not necessarily that we are a success. We can also achieve wealth, position and so forth to the point that society says we are a success, but just as those things can happen they can be undone. Should that happen, are you no longer a success?
I think now you might be starting to see what I am getting at here. Whether or not we attain our goals or reach a certain level within society it does not truly translate into us being a successful person. What it does do is define our successful moments in life, but at a cost that might be more than some are willing to pay.
Let’s take a look at an example:
Martin is going on a hiking trip to a very beautiful and arduous trail. He is so excited to reach the summit of the trail where there is a breathtaking view to behold and this is his ultimate goal.
He spends a lot of time gathering all of the things that he will need for his trip and all throughout that process he is envisioning himself enjoying the view at the end of the trail. It drives and motivates him throughout all of his preparations.
Finally, the time arrives and Martin proceeds out on his journey. He walks fast and with purpose, reaching the summit is still driving him as he hikes along the trail. However, bad weather sets in and not long before the summit, he is forced to turn back before reaching his goal.
Looking at the above example, was Martin successful in his journey or was he a failure? He did not achieve his goal of looking out from the summit and enjoying the grand view, but does that really make it a failed moment in life? Is he a failure? Do I have you thinking now?
The Secret to Success
So now that I have the wheels in your head turning, I bet you are wondering what the secret to success is? Well, after reading the book The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris and combining what I learned from it with my own life experience and practicing it, I now have the key.
The key to living a successful life comes down to living a life by your values. In order for me to explain this a little better, let’s revisit our example above:
Jenny is also going on the hiking trip with Martin. She is excited about this beautiful view that martin has been telling her about. However, she just loves the outdoors and is happy to be out and active in it.
Jenny prepares for the trip just like Martin. However, instead of the summit being her focal point she is taking this trip because of her values. Some of the values that she lives by that are pertinent to this trip are: Being Active, Socializing, Being Adventurous & Exploring Nature.
As they begin their journey, Martin is always talking about reaching the summit and enjoying the view. For Jenny though, she is enjoying Martin’s company and every step of their adventure. The feel of the breeze blowing through the woods against her face, the subtle smells of the forest, and all of the beauty of it with each turn in the trail all bring her joy.
As you can see here, Jenny is enjoying every moment or step of the journey as it is aligned with the values in life that she finds important. Martin is so focused on just the goal at the end of the trail that he is disappointed with the trip and views it as a failure. Jenny on the other hand had a great time despite not achieving the overall goal.
I think now you are starting to understand the perspective that I am bringing to the table, but how can you work this into your life?
Applying the Key
So now that you know the key to living successfully is to live life by your values, let’s take a look at making sure you understand just what your values are. Most of us live our lives with certain values, but often they are truly undefined or focused on per say.
First thing is first, let’s define what your values are that motivate you through life. This is a task that is easier said than done, so don’t fret if things don’t come to you right away. Your first task though is to start thinking about what motivates you the most in life and then list out your top 5. Obviously there are a lot more values that guide our lives, but to get you started down this road let’s just work with the most important ones first.
Using myself here as an example I will tell you what my top 5 values are:
- The Golden Rule
Looking at my list, the most important value in my life is the Golden Rule. Working in a sales/customer service type industry, I am constantly working with various people and this gives me many opportunities to act on my value of the Golden Rule. Every time I am able to treat someone the way I would expect to be treated, I am successfully living my life.
The same goes for the other ones listed here. Each time I get the opportunity to show Love, Commitment, Forgiveness and Honesty, I am living successfully according to my values. I think that now you can really understand how to live a successful life, right?
Share Your Thoughts
As always I would like to invite you to share your thoughts with us in an effort to help us all see a little more perspective into the subject. Whether you have questions still or a story that you could share with us to support this, just leave it below in the comment section below. Please don’t hold back, it could be your perspective that helps unlock this concept for someone else!
If you enjoyed this content, please take a few minutes to take a look at some of the other articles that I have written here:
- What Motivates You to Live Your Life?
- Learn How to Trust Your Intuition Using Hindsight
- How to Be Happy in Life – The Power of Living with Intent
- Why You Should Be Grateful in Life
- What is the Most Important Thing in Life? Accountability
Thank you for stopping by today and I wish you well on your journey through this life.
James W D