I have tortured myself with this question in the past. Have you done the same? If so, you may want to read this.
Do you want to know when it is that you will be successful? When three things happen:
1) You figure out what's going on in your life now that you can be grateful for;
2) You discovering what success is under your terms; and
3) You taking action to make sure you experience your definition of success.
It's all about having the courage to ask the right questions:
- What are you grateful for?
- How do you define success?
- How can you live your definition of success?
Let's analyze each question further:
1) What are you grateful for?
See if you are familiar with some of the following states:
- Feeling lost;
- Not knowing what you want to do with your life;
- Going from having crystal clear focus to doubting if what you've been saying to yourself and others, is what you really want;
- Wondering if you have a purpose in life;
- Perceiving yourself as being stuck in relation to your peers;
- Realizing that even though you were once full of dreams and convinced that you would make them all happen and leave your mark on the world, you are presently learning to live "realistically" and to see the world as it really is.
I've experienced all of the above. Not just a couple, all of them, so I know what I'm saying when I suggest that you take a moment and move your attention away from the past and the future. There must be something or someone that you are grateful for now. At the end of the day, gratitude comes from within. Being grateful is a decision that you make and a habit that you develop. It takes discipline to invest mentally and emotionally in gratitude, even when unpleasant situations -- that are sometimes outside of your circle of influence- happen. It is difficult to let go of the things we can't control. The key is to aim for power over you and, when possible, positive influence over other people, events and circumstances.
If something that you label as negative happens in your life, embrace the different feelings and emotions that arise. Trying to burry them inside or ignore them is unhealthy because going through a spectrum of feelings and emotions is an inevitable part of the human experience.
Figuring out what makes you feel grateful helps to get you in a positive state of mind. If you are feeling depressed or desperate, you could end up doing a poor job at defining success.
2) How do you define success?
What does the life of a successful person look like? Are the ideas that you have on what makes an individual successful your own or did you learn them from society?
Success is not a one size fits all concept. It is a subjective experience. Until recently, I defined success using parameters that I accepted growing up. I am not entirely free of this conditioning, but I am more aware than I was before. I can pause to consider if the experiences that I desire to live respond to my own aspirations or to the need to conform to others' definition of success.
I can't tell anyone what they should or shouldn't want for themselves. Looking inside is an absolute must to create a holistic definition of success. Introspection gives you the opportunity to explore who you are, to assess your values, what you are passionate about and to use this information to define success.
Do you know you? Can you describe the person that you want to become? Change is a part of life. You are not the same person that you were yesterday, but once you begin to know your deepest self, you will be closer to discovering your definition of success -- and as you evolve as a human being, this definition may change too.
Knowing you is neither a race against time nor against yourself. Patience and compassion are powerful when dealing with the person looking into your eyes when you face a mirror. I have found in myself traits that scare me, qualities that make me proud, untapped potential and limitations that my conscious mind ignored. The path to self-knowledge is a never-ending one. It makes sense to use what you learn about yourself as a platform for growth. We all have room for improvement.
3) How can you live your definition of success?
So your outlook on life is more positive and you've come up with a definition of success that excites you. What's next? Well, it's quite simple, you work to be able to live that definition:
- Dare to verbalize it.
- Find out what resources are available to help you move closer to it.
- Take action. Don't wait for everything to be perfect or until you know every step you'll take.
- Assess your progress. Be flexible.
- Enjoy the process.
I believe that people want to feel that they are a part of something larger than themselves, to love and to be loved, to have a positive effect on the world around them and to feel they are moving forward in the direction of their dreams. No one has all the answers, but when it comes to the elusive question When will I be successful?, if:
1) You are grateful to be where you are now;
2) You know who you are and what you want out of life; and
3) You are taking consistent action to live up to your ideal of success;
Then you already are a successful person, working to be even more successful!