Got the question today via email: “What does success mean to me?”
Two answers sprang to mind. One is general and philosophical, the other more personal and detailed. Here they are:
Success = Happiness.
Happiness = State of Mind.
State of Mind = Personal Choice
As author Victor Frankl said in “Man’s Search for Meaning,” “The meaning of life is a question life asks of us, not that we ask of life.” Life has whatever meaning you choose to give it, no more, no less. If you give life no meaning, life will have no meaning. Of course, you will be immensely poorer for your lack of investment.
To me, success means being the best me I can figure out how to be; making the most of my talents, leaving the world a little bit better for having been here, advancing simultaneously in both my personal life and my professional life, walking briskly forward, onward to the dawn on both my spiritual path and my earthly road. To keep my sense of self anchored deep, deep within. Learning to be in the world, but not totally of the world, to achieve but not make achievements my master. If I do all these things, I am content, satisfied, happy.
In short, success = happiness. And happiness, for me, requires that I live a life of meaning, a life of purpose.
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
— Steve Prefontaine (January 25, 1951 – May 30, 1975). Prefontaine was an American runner who helped inspire the running boom in the 1970s and once held the American record in five distance track events, from the 2,000 meters to the 10,000 meters. He was known for his extremely aggressive, front-running racing style. Prefontaine died at the age of 24 in a car accident.
“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”
— Margaret Young
“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.”
— James Openheim