On the path to becoming successful, you can end up chasing the wrong goals for the wrong reasons. Often goals are associated with making money or achieving a high level of status.
While there's nothing wrong with wanting either of the above, you can be led astray by chasing after them. If money and fame weren't part of the equation, how would you define success?
When you see someone who is wildly successful, you look at their success in terms of the rewards it's granted them. It might even lead you to believe they're greedy or selfish. But often their wealth and status came from working on something that meant a great deal to them.
Take Bill Gates for example. Many people dislike him because he's filthy rich, but do you think his primary aim in creating Microsoft was getting rich? No. He loved computers and loved building things.
Steve Jobs is another useful example. Jobs became incredibly wealthy and famous from founding Apple, but his goal was never to become rich; it was to make world class products. The love for design came first. The money and fame came second.
Sure, there are some people whose primary aim is to make money and nothing more like Wall Street executives, but those types of people can actually end up being more miserable than us all.
Today I'm going to share some clear cut signs of success that have nothing to do with money or fame.
You quit trying to please.
Success happens when you quit living your life to please everyone around you. Success happens when you quit listening to the noise of the world and focus on what's important to you. Success happens when you quit thinking reality is anything but what you want it to be. Quit viewing the world with the preconceived notions you were taught growing up. Quit being "realistic." Quit worrying and start living.
You try things with uncertain outcomes
All of the worlds most successful people had to try something with an uncertain outcome. Even if things don't go your way, you learn a valuable lesson; it's not the end of the world. You can try again and again. Success and failure are intertwined with one another. Find someone who's achieved success and you'll discover a string of failures along the way.
"It doesn't matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once." - Mark Cuban
One of the most successful self-help books of all time, "How to Win Friends And Influence People," offers these simple pieces of advice for being successful.
- Be polite
- Praise others for their good work
- Don't argue with other people
It's astonishing how many people don't have good manners. Treating people the right away pays dividends. Every person you encounter is the most important person in the world in their eyes; successful people know to treat them as such.
You have many moments where you lose yourself
A life well lived has many moments in a state of flow, otherwise described as being in the zone. Doing this type of deep work will leave you feeling fulfilled afterward. Think back to a time where you've lost track of several hours while doing something; that's flow. Your mission is to find work that allows you to experience that feeling as much as possible. The value of engagement trumps the value of money. Search for work you get completely lost in.
Someone has thanked you for something you've done
Has anyone ever gone out of their way to thank you for your work? That's success. No matter how bad you want success for yourself, you'll never get it until you find a way to provide value to other people.
Your business isn't about you; it's about your customer. Your creative work isn't about you; it's about touching others. Every time someone leaves a kind comment or sends me a message thanking me for sharing with them, it gives me more motivation to keep creating.
Find success by giving.
You pissed someone off
Because you believed in something. Because you have a (well-informed) opinion that others may disagree with. Because you had the audacity to say what we're all afraid to say. Successful people don't seek to maintain the status quo. When they see that the system is broken, they look for ways to change it and find like-minded people to help them.
You do things that excite you
“The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.”- Tim Ferriss, "The 4-Hour Work Week." “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” - Henry David Thoreau
Most people's lives aren't necessarily bad, but they're terribly boring. This is why they need constant entertainment via the television. You're successful if you trade comfort for excitement, a job with decent pay and benefits for a vocation, a monotonous existence for a life filled with rich experiences.
Successful people collect memories, not dollar bills.
You lived a life that met your expectations
That's happiness in a nutshell: The only thing you have do to to be successful is live up to your own standards. Not the standards of society, or the standards of your friends or family members.
Your dream doesn't need to be predicated on money or status; being able to do what you enjoy and afford to go on the adventures you seek is all you need.
If your dream is to be a world class chef, then cook your ass off. If your dream is to be a writer then write. If your dream is to raise a family and you do that well, then you're successful.
We all deserve to be fully present, and to live in a way that's satisfying more often than not. Money and status are great, but as I said before, they're usually byproducts of working toward something with meaning and doing it well.
Define what success means to you and do what ever it takes to become it.
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