How To Be Successful At Life: Don’t Fall Into The Success Trap
Our society generally defines success in terms of fame, fortune, status and respect from having a prestigious job, handsome/beautiful spouse, luxury car and large home.
When and if you achieve these things you are considered a success.
But if you buy into that definition of success then you are setting yourself up for potential unhappiness and suffering.
This way of looking at success creates a goal-focused life where you are always striving for the next goal…more $$, a fitter body, more status, a bigger house, more respect…
You have to win the game, make the sale, get the promotion, attract the partner or get the degree to be successful.
Pitfall #1: There is no guarantee you will achieve your goals or they maybe a long way off.
Pitfall #2: Even if you do achieve them, they do not create lasting happiness. You have to always be on to the next goal.
Pitfall #3: If you buy into this notion of success, you will always be under tremendous pressure to keep achieving and achieving to maintain it.
FRAGILE SELF ESTEEM
As long as you keep achieving your goals, then you are “a success,” “a winner,” or “a high achiever.”
But if you stop achieving your goals, then you are no longer successful and then you are a “loser,” “a failure” or “a wash-out.”
Your self image is based on your performance.
That is shaky ground because it is impossible to win all the time.
LIVING BY YOUR VALUES
I challenge you to consider a different definition of success: living by your values.
This can make your life so much easier, because you are in control of living by your values and you can act on them.
This is especially helpful if your goals are a long way off.
You don’t have to wait until you have achieved them – you can be successful right now by living to your values.
All you have to do is ACT on your values.
By this definition, a woman who gives up her career to act on her values of caring, love and nurturing to be home with her kids, is more successful than the CEO who earns millions, but neglects his values of being there for his family.
“Try not to be a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” ~ Albert Einstein
I’M NOT SUCCESSFUL ENOUGH
Next time your mind beats you up for not being successful enough, try answering, “Thanks mind!” and then ask yourself…
“What small action step can I do right now that is consistent with my values.”
Then do it – instant success!
True success is living to your values.
PROCESS AND OUTCOME
Process is the way you go about doing something and the outcome is the result of what you’ve done.
So if you want to develop true confidence and perform at your highest potential…
The best way is to fully engage in the process and let go of the outcome.
It does not mean giving up on the goal, it just means shifting your emphasis.
Instead of being preoccupied by the outcome, get excited about the process so you get the most out of it and give it your all.
GETTING TO THE TOP
I have 2 friends I hike with Mary and Jane.
Mary is totally goal oriented. She is all about making it to the top in the shortest amount of time.
She hardly ever wants to take a break on the way up and when we finally reach the top she is happy for that one brief instant while we take in the views.
Then it is back down as fast as possible.
My other friend, Jane also wants to reach the top, but is really focused on her values: being outdoors in nature, challenging herself, fitness and health, exploring and connection.
So when we hike she enjoys the climb, noticing the plants, the slugs, the trees, the glimpse of the views and the conversation.
If the trail is icy towards the top or for some reason we don’t make it to the top, both are disappointed, but Jane handles it better.
She is able to enjoy the climb because she is challenging herself, appreciating nature, moving her body and hanging out with me.
Mary is just frustrated because we did not reach our goal of getting to the top.
This is the difference of living a values-focused verses a goals-focused life.
Even if you don’t achieve your goal at that moment you can still get satisfaction and pleasure.
CREATING A PURPOSEFUL LIFE
Are you ready to figure out your values and start living a purposeful life?
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