Success in one form or another is important to all of us. The trick is figuring out what success means to you. That takes time and thought. The answers may not be what you expect them to be. Here are 6 measurements that define success to me. What about you?
To be comfortable with myself. This means accepting who I am and have become. It is finding a way to be content and at ease. While constantly striving to be better, it means accepting what is good and bad in me. It means being firm in my values and beliefs, though always open to adjusting after receiving new information.
To have at least one person love me enough to take me for who and what I am. In my case it is my wife. After 34 years I still find ways to irritate or upset her on a regular basis. But, I know she is fully committed to our life together. For better or worse wasn’t just a sentence in the wedding ceremony. She hasn’t stopped trying to help me grow and work on my weaknesses. But, her love is not conditional on my making specific changes.
To have family nearby. I have written several posts about the importance of families and those relationships. Click here for a sample.. Having my parents, both grown daughters, my in-laws and their extended family, and my grandkids all within 30 minutes is a tremendous blessing. Success comes when all of those people look for opportunities to get together. We enjoy each other, we care about each other, and we are there for each other.
To be financially secure enough to handle the bumps without crashing. I retired before I was financially ready, but I had no choice. My business was disappearing before my eyes. My family was suffering from my travel schedule. In the end, the decision was to make do with what we had and make it work. Because we had always lived below our means we had saved enough to give it a shot. We are homebodies and very content to be with family, friends, and ourselves. We don’t need a lot of extras. That has enabled us to survive with very little change in our way of life through various recessions, housing price collapses, and lost investments.
To understand that experiences are more lasting than things. When it came to some large expense, our kids were often part of the decision. They would understand that choosing one thing would affect something else. When given that choice, as a family we almost always valued experiences over things. Good memories cannot be repossessed or foreclosed. They are always available and always increase in value.
To leave something positive behind. Even if we don’t say so out loud, every one of us hopes we are not forgotten when we die, that there is something we leave behind that lasts. It could be discovering the cure for cancer or a new design for a more efficient solar cell. It could be that you gave life to a child, who gave live to a child, who gave life to a child. It could be a scholarship fund for deserving students. Or, it could be that you lived your life with honor, integrity, and dignity and were an inspiration to others.
Each individual defines success in his or her own way. What is success to you? What items are on your list? Have you really thought about it?