Immediately some readers sight this post, they may begin to think that something is wrong with me. How on earth could anyone say that success is not good?
Yes, I can easily understand the frame of mind of such critics. We have all been conditioned by parents, teachers, authors, motivational speakers, mentors, pastors etc to pursue success so when anyone gives a contrary opinion, we are bound to resist.
Perhaps the first thing to do is to actually attempt to define what success is. So, if I should ask: What exactly is success?
That’s the first hurdle to cross. Each of us will define success in various ways. Some will see success as making big money. Others will see success as building a great business. While some other people will see success as having a happy marriage. It all depends on each person’s circumstances.
No doubt, it’s good to have money. It’s good to build a great company. And it’s good to have a happy home.
But the other side of success begins to show its ugly face the moment we begin to pursue it. This happens because of the way we define success. We see it as something that is in the future. We wake up in the morning and begin to say something like, “Five years from now, I must hit 10 million dollars.” Or, we say, “I must become a celebrity in two years’ time.”
On and on we continue to increase the list of successes that we aspire to achieve in the future. With this, we place so much stress on ourselves. Our faces are up, and our eyes are wide open to the future. The only thing we see is the future, or rather, what we aim to achieve in future. We forget to live today to the fullest. We fail to enjoy the beauty of NOW. We continue to postpone our happiness till that time that our success will be achieved in future.
What then happens if we fail to achieve our so-called success later in life?
Hmmm, we all know the results. We start to lose confidence in ourselves. We begin to think that we are not adequate. And unhappiness sets in.
We look around to see other people who, by our estimation, have been able to achieve their aims; those people that we consider to be successful on account of their material possession. We fail to realize that they may not be very happy within, despite the image they seem to project to the whole world.
Because of success, or pursuit of success, some people forget to live a life. They fail to give their children the needed attention. They virtually abandon their home in the name of work, business, or money. The only thing fixed in their mind is simply success – future success!
Another point worthy of mentioning is the desperation with which some guys pursue success. To them, it is a do-or-die affair. That’s why someone will want to obtain a government contract irrespective of whatever it takes – including bribery and blackmailing. That’s why a man will vie for a political appointment up to the point of his own death, or murdering an opponent.
There is actually a thin line separating success from greed, most especially financial success (if it truly exists). A man who has just made a billion dollars wants more; a woman with twenty houses wants to build another ten; and a young man who has just bought a medium sized car wants to acquire airplane.
So, with what I’ve said so far, you may wonder if I’m actually averse to success. You probably want to know if I don’t ever aim at something great.
Of course I believe in success and I write a lot about the subject.
But my definition of success is totally different. As far as I’m concerned, success means appreciating today, and living it with joy and happiness. It’s about leaving the future to what it is. Today is what I know; I have no clue as to what tomorrow holds. To me, the future is TODAY. If I can wake up in the morning, go out there to make a difference, and return home a happy man later in the evening, then I am a successful man.
Some people may want to disagree with me on what I’ve just said but I won’t blame them. That’s because of the conditioning they have gone through in the past that could make it difficult for them to understand my definition.
But the fact is this: We are all in this world to be happy. If you live day in day out without being happy, and you continue to hope for a future happy period, I’m afraid to say; that future day may never come. And if you’re lucky to remain alive till that future day but fail to fulfill your self-defined and self-imposed success, you end up a sad person.
What will then follow?
You begin to regret the nice time you never had with your wife; the attention you never gave to your children, and the charity work you failed to do; all because you were chasing after success.
How about those who reach their aims? What do they eventually turn to?
Well, you know it. They become the victims of the same success they have vigorously pursued over the years. Some end up with high blood pressure, while others become monsters by allowing their so-called success to enter into their heads. They become tin gods and start to play God.
The future is truly today, and your success is the level of happiness you can create for yourself and others right now.
Live your immediate life well because tomorrow may be too late, or may never come as expected.
I wish you success…success as I’ve just explained!