Success is a loaded term. Just like all words in our lexicon, it has picked up baggage over the centuries. Many good people equate success with wealth and/or fame. This is understandable because these things offer a level of comfort and security, but they really have nothing to do with success. In all honesty, is this how we want to raise our children, encouraging them to believe that success is equivalent to material wealth? Or that they are successful only through the validation of others? I know our complicated world forces them to confront this daily, but we can give them more. We can instill a sense of worth built on more than empty achievements.
The first definition given by the dictionary for success is “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.” I share this with you because it reveals a fundamental truth about success. Success is an end. The force of the word termination always snaps me back to reality.
We spend most of our lives not in success but in falling short of success. In fact, this is where we learn, grow, and evolve. These aren’t always pleasant and carefree activities, but they are good. You have to be less than successful in order to be alive.
I would like to believe that being successful is being your best self. This road is never straight, and it is always a moving target. We take a step down one road, turn back, go completely off the path, get covered in mud, pick wildflowers, fall in a hole, brush ourselves off, and start again.
Success is completing something to your satisfaction. It can happen one day, but not the next. On that bad day when we feel like we have failed or lost, it’s important to remember the preciousness of this less than successful moment. We can harvest this moment, plant it, and nurture something beautiful in ourselves. Don’t run toward success. Instead foster goodness in yourself and spread it through the world. Redefine success as a process, not a termination.