Ask the average person1 how he or she defines “success” and I’d lay some pretty good odds 2 that “make lots of money” or “be famous” would appear on the list. Indeed, it is how we, as a society, measure success. Who graces our magazine covers? The wealthy and the well known. Who are our “heroes”? Movie actresses, country singers, basketball players (with the very occasional renowned scientist, such as Stephen Hawking). But is stuff (and money is a type of stuff used to garner more physical stuff) or adulation truly indicative of a successful life?
How do YOU define success? How do I define success? Let us think about that. It is up to each of us to define a personal meaning of success, one that allows us to decide if we have met (or are meeting, as success isn’t a mountain that you climb and voila, it’s done)it. What is your definition of success (as ever-evolving as it may be)?
My definition of success is moving beyond my comfort zone and doing that which scares me3. I feel successful if I’ve tried (and “tried” is the operative word here, as expanding your boundaries necessarily entails risk of failure4). If I try something new, be it as impressive as skydiving or as seemingly mundane as trying a new recipe for a tried and true favorite, I’ve reached beyond my boundaries. A life of risk-taking, pushing boundaries. That, to me, is success. And while I don’t always feel like I am achieving it, it is my success touchstone—and I know I work at getting beyond those cages called “comfort zones”.
The concept of success is one I’ll visit again.
1as if there is such a mythical being as an “average person”
2Well, only if those odd are really good-looking!
3one of my New Year’s REVolutions is exactly this—Do That Which Scares Me
4”Failure” isn’t failure, folks—and quite a few mainstream media outlets have been writing about this for the past few years, such as the New York Times. “Failures” are learning experiences and are an important part of growth. People who don’t fail are people who don’t try because of their fears.