When taking a look at the cover of most popular magazines, we see images of people who are either successful or have fallen from having had prior success. We believe we can identify what is considered to be successful from the typical external cues.
Celebrity lifestyles, material possessions and extravagance present the amplified version of accomplishment. Most of us will never experience that life of fame and fortune; however, we have taken away a possibly destructive lesson from our observation of this way of life.
We have learned to value status as an indication of one's achievement, and this is what stands between us and the goal of authentic success.
What is authentic success?
Authentic success is when your everyday activity is infused with your soul's desires. There is alignment between what you deeply want and who you are being. When individuals find this space of harmony, a sense of fulfillment leads their days.
These are the people who have been able to shift their mindset from the traditional way of thinking about success. They have learned to value state over status. If we take a closer look at how we have accepted suboptimal ways of being, this is a significant change in the way we approach life.
For example, consider the spouse who won't leave a terrible marriage for the sake of keeping the family together. For that individual, the status of family is more important than the state of the family. They are more interested in holding onto that status than facing the reality of the situation at hand.
Another example is the person who holds onto a job she despises. (This doesn't apply to someone who has no other immediate means of providing for oneself or their family.) A person in a lucrative position, with an impressive title, may be most concerned with the prestige that comes along with it. The fact that they have to deal with a soul-sucking environment may be put on the backburner if status runs the show.
Obtaining authentic success requires an ongoing honest assessment of your current state of affairs. And, let's face it, too many of us aren't willing to do that.
Past definitions of success have been quite rigid and as a result, we're still chasing empty prospects. From the outside, our productivity and fruits of that productivity masquerade as accomplishment. Far too often, this occurs at the expense of well-being. Authentic success demands otherwise and makes well-being the cornerstone.
If you find yourself feeling like something is lacking, perhaps it's time to explore if choosing status over state is a habit of yours. The next time you want to compare yourself to a figure on a magazine cover, remember that the things you covet do not necessarily reflect the reality that comes along with it. Your experience of success can have as much shallowness or as much depth as you choose to bring to it. This is entirely your choice. Choose wisely.