How Do You Define Success?

My friends and I are having a conversation one day about job satisfaction and fulfillment, and the years we’ve spent in the corporate world.  Most of us have reached some degree of contentment in how our career paths turned out and some are still halfway towards reaching the top. By top I mean, the pinnacle of success. The latter, being a relative word.

 People come from different backgrounds, culture, and upbringing. This fact plus the uniqueness of every person and the particular experiences each has gone through defines ones’ own personal view of what success really looks like and feels like.

Though I cannot accurately interpret these definitions from the viewpoint of others, let me share with you how success is pictured from my own view. 

I started out life as an achiever mostly in academics. This winner mindset propelled me to give my best in everything that I do, be it at work, music or in any display of talent.  While the experience proved an age-old wisdom that, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”, it rewarded me with a glimpse of joy. The problem was, that, to me, it was never enough. Pure, lasting joy, then became the cornerstone of my success definition.

Perhaps the excitement of being on top was just fleeting.  The self-gratification was temporary. The applause lasted for a moment and the spotlight dimmed after some time.  Perhaps age did catch up or life became more real as I’ve come face to face with my own mortality.

The transition took place moment by moment, piece by piece.  Soon enough I found myself longing for something deeper, more profound,  something seemingly elusive but more solid and real. 

Then it finally made sense. Instead of chasing heavenly painted rainbows I was drawn to create my own.  

 

Connecting the dots in my past helped me understand why there was sort of a lack.  Something was missing despite the number of shining moments I have reveled in.  There, I found a great hole carved out by the plain absence of meaning.

Everything I did then was for me. I took home the glory, for me.  I was proving myself to the world, to other people, to people I didn’t even know. My sole focus at that time was to convince people of my own worth.

I realized later on,  how exhausting this can be and so I abandoned that path.  I trod on new waters and became fully aware of who I am and what I can do, create and contribute. 

I started to believe that knowing my worth is enough. That forging meaning in what I’ve been tasked to accomplish in this world makes more sense.  That giving is oftentimes more rewarding than taking.  That fulfillment in it’s truest sense is an overwhelming feeling that’s not short-lived. Rather, it’s something that rewards your heart with boundless joy and serenity no words can even express.

In a sense, I became content in knowing that at the end of each day, I gave my all and I have put my heart and mind into the things that I do. That means then that I’ve got to make sure that whatever I do is worthy of my time because I’m exchanging every second of my life for it.  

 

Come nightfall, I should be in a state where I can pat myself on the back and say, “You did a good job, today”, and my Creator simply nodding a proud yes.  That my friend is, success, simplified, in my own terms.

Questions:

How about you? How do you see success from where you stand? Share your thoughts here.

 

Why Care About A Morning Ritual?

It’s important.  At first, I wasn’t a believer myself. But as I got older, life became more demanding. I realized then that we have to be more intentional of our days instead of allowing others to rule it for us. This is where a morning ritual comes in. You have to set up the tone for the day. It’s more like conditioning your mind, body, and spirit before embarking on the day’s journey.

Morning rituals can differ from one person to another. Designing it should correspond to your need. For example, If you’re days are stressful, you might want to start your day with some relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. If you feel spiritually weak, then maybe you can dive into your Bible or tune in to a Christian radio station first thing in the morning.  If your typical day, however, involves more physical action, then maybe you can go for a run before the dawn breaks to pump up your adrenaline. 

 

Most people would combine these morning activities with things like having a healthy meal, share meaningful conversations with loved ones, or goof around with kids, anything that sets up a positive mood or fills the air with positive energy. Of course, doing these entails waking up early, which further means not resisting an early nightcap.

Some people start the day planning and writing down priorities.  That way, no matter how chaotic, busy, or demanding the day goes, they go to work with a strong intention and commitment to accomplish what they have set out to do.  This allows them to end their day with a sense of fulfillment.

Morning rituals would do us good especially during these times when most people are stretched out to thin. With lots of responsibilities and expectations to meet, a sense of balance is getting harder to achieve.  Regardless of what your circumstances are, you have to be deliberate in determining the course of your life instead of going with the flow. Else you will find yourself wondering where the years have gone by. You’d regret knowing you’ve missed out a lot in your own life mainly because you became too occupied meeting other people’s agenda.

You don’t want to fall victim to a busy world and a demanding environment. You don’t want to go through your days completely detached from what you want to accomplish meaningfully for yourself and the people who matter to you.  To truly live, you have to be purposeful, and you have to set out that purpose at the start of each day.  

There’s no blueprint for a perfect morning ritual. You can create it and make some improvements along the way. You have to adapt it to your needs. Discover what works for you and continue doing what gives you results.  The purpose of these rituals is to enhance your life, improve your days, increase the quality of your relationships and fulfill your reason for being.

Now the challenge:  Think about a morning ritual that you can start. Create a simple one that you can accomplish every single day and see how it improves your life.

Colours

“In the bigger world, we all have roles to fill. Fulfill what is yours and be excellent about it. There’s room for everyone in the Father’s Kingdom”. #sundaewrites

 

Have you ever felt frustrated because somebody else is better than you? Mad because you don’t have what they have or maybe because they’re already doing the things you could have been doing, but never really started?

Well, you’re not alone. In the past, I have beaten myself up about frustrations supposedly caused by people around me. Yes, I blamed everyone else but myself. But the more I look deeper into what I’m going through, the more I figured, it’s my fault and no one else’s.

Here’s the deal.  Whenever you feel the green monster creeping in, you can either do one or a few of these things.

Avoid it.  Facebook is a great platform. It allows people to make connections and gives us a window for self-expression.  The latter, sometimes create a negative impact on most of us.  In my case, seeing other people’s post actually got me jealous at times in the past. You read it right. It’s not actually their fault, it’s mine. You know, we have to take responsibility for what we feel.  So what did I do?  I unfollowed most.  (If you’re one of those, I’m sorry, it’s not really personal). But you see, I recognized my flaw and I took an action to protect my heart. I didn’t want to carry the heavy baggage anymore. The more you allow these little things to build up, they actually get heavier over time.

Celebrate other people’s success. We envy and hate people because we want what they have.  Let’s be honest. We only see the tip of the iceberg, and we don’t know what successful people had to go through just to get to where they are. Just think about one person you know who finally launched a business or have drawn a large clientele. Or just think about Mozart or Da Vinci. Imagine the hours, the late nights, the effort, discipline, failures, and frustrations they had to endure and overcome to be where they are now.  Are you willing to put in the same effort, and the same work? Next time you feel envious, ask yourself that.  Truly successful people put in a lot of hard work to accomplish what they set their mind and heart on. It didn’t just happen overnight. So we ought to applaud them, be inspired by them and not hate them.

Nurture your own success. Admit that you can’t be everyone to anyone, but you can be someone.  In your own unique way, you can bless the world.  Each of us has his own gifts. Our responsibility is to hone this gift and be excellent at it.  You know in a typical office, not everyone is a receptionist. Not everyone is an accountant, an engineer, a sales executive, or a CEO. Everybody gets to be one, and everyone has a part to play. For a company to succeed, the team should be ironclad. No weak link. And everyone should turn up to do the job, else somebody will have to fill in two roles and that may be ineffective in the long run.

Photo by Joe Shillington

 

My point is, in the bigger world, we all have roles to fill. Each of us has been equipped to do what we’re supposed to do. We are here to complement each other not envy one another. It doesn’t matter what work you do, what matters is you do it the best you could. How?  Imagine you’re not just putting one brick on top of the other. See the bigger picture, and recognize that you’re actually building a church.

Go and bless the world!