As a kid my dad encouraged me to strive for the best. In his mind I was gifted and would surly go on to do great things. He pushed me to believe that anything was within my reach. I began to think of success as a choice and not something that was destined upon you.
If I wanted to be a success in life, if I wanted that million dollar mansion on the beach, I could have it. All I would have to do is to believe it is possible, and with enough ambition and hard work I would do it. It was a great way of thinking and it encouraged me to dream big.
The only problem is, I took it too far. I associated being a success in life with how much money I had in my bank account, and I went on to strive to become wealthy as fast as possible.
What Does Success in Life Really Mean?
I bought into get rich quick programs hoping to become the next overnight success story. I wanted to be able to turn a few thousand into a few million in the stock market in just a couple years, I wanted to be able to set up a website in 5 minutes and start making big money from it.
I wanted to do all of this without really adding anything of value to the world and without helping other people. I focused on how I could make money rather than how I could help other people, and to be honest I had some success, but in the end everything came crashing down.
My search for money had given me very little success; at the same time it had caused me to ignore other areas of my life such as my relationships, health, and happiness.
Mentally I knew what I wanted, I wanted to be a success and in my mind that meant being rich. Emotionally on the other hand I was a mess. I couldn’t love myself unconditionally. I needed the money there to prove to the world that I was a success.
I figured once it came, once I became wealthy, I would be able to start rebuilding the rest of my life and everything else would just fall into place.
But as a 21 year old college drop-out living with his mother with next to no social life, I figured something had to change. I couldn’t go on the way I was just hoping something would pan out. I decided to take action. If my definition of success was what was keeping me down, I decided to redefine what success meant to me.
From Money to Fulfillment
From that moment on I decided that my success was not based on how much money I had in my bank or how fast I could get rich, but it was based on my own self-fulfillment. Instead of focusing on money I focused how I could change my life to something I would enjoy more.
If you are focusing on money or are obsessed with one area of your life, these are some principals I used to bring me back to reality. They may work for you too:
1. I Balanced My Life
I had always written down goals for how much I wanted to make next year or what I wanted to buy. But it took me a while to write down goals for the rest of my life. It is now something I recommend everyone do.
What areas of your life do you want to improve? At the time the 4 key areas of my life that I wanted to focus on were money, health, relationships, and my social life. You may have other areas of life that are important to you like spirituality or educational.
Write down any areas of your life that you want to change, write down what you want to happen in them, and finally write down what steps you will take to improve them.
When you focus on your life as a whole everything begins to fit together. I’m sure I could have focused solely on one area of my life and accomplished much more in that one area. But if I did that I wouldn’t have the balanced life that I have now and I wouldn’t be as full-filled in my life. Which if you remember is my new definition of success.
2. I Focused On Helping People
I realized that focusing on getting rich quick wasn’t helping anyone. When I traded stocks or gambled in poker my focus was always to take money away from other people so that I could have it. Some things are a zero sum game after all, for me to win at them somebody else had to lose.
But that is not nearly as fulfilling as helping others. I’ve learned that helping other people is a much more fulfilling use of my time and it can have a much bigger payoff in the future. When you focus on helping others you grow and humanity as a whole grows.
Helping others can help you find purpose and meaning, and it can bring much more love in your life than only helping yourself.
3. I Found A Passion
When I was down on my luck I always found inspiration to move forward and try new things by reading self-improvement books and blogs. They inspired me to never give up and to push through the bad times to get to the good times.
My life has drastically improved now and I owe much of my success and happiness to the self-improvement community. That is why self-improvement became my new passion and something that I truly enjoy. Pushing myself to be a better person and helping others improve their own lives gives me that purpose I missed in life before.
Finding your own passion is something that will indeed make life worth living. This is especially true if it does help other people and spreads goodness around the world.
4. I Realized That I Am Not My Success And Failures
I used to associate myself with my successes and failures. I think a lot of people do this, and it creates a lot more emotional ups and downs, which eventually make you less productive and more prone to failure.
Instead of getting cocky when I succeed and slipping into depression when I failed, I decided to treat life as a video game. There are many factors that I can’t control, but what I can control is what I learn from the experience and what actions I take to improve my situation.
There are no do-overs in life, but we will have second chances. Take everything as a learning experience and do your best to constantly improve. If you do that you should get through life just fine.
I’ve learned that happiness is a huge part in life. Even if you manage to become rich beyond your wildest dreams it is still pointless without people in your life and there is still something missing if you don’t have a passion.
In our world people work long hours to buy big cars and prove that they are the richest people on the block. This is fine, just remember that money isn’t everything and to always be working towards a life that really will make you happy.