There is a danger that in our culture today we might define ourselves by external benchmarks of what success should look like. By the accolades, status and wealth we accumulate. The force of such influences in your life might be so strong that they lead you to derive your self-worth from these. To look for success outside of you rather than within.
An internal state
There is an important difference between being viewed as successful by other people and actually feeling like you are engaging in life wholeheartedly and with meaning. Perhaps, the latter is moving towards a better definition of what success might be.
If what you are looking for is an internal state of fulfilment and wholehearted engagement in the world, perhaps that is actually something you can really know for yourself.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what
you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
Other people might be able to intuit how you feel, but only you will really know. It is then about taking responsibility for your life and what you truly want to do. It is about looking within rather than outside.
Conditioned to believe
It is not uncommon for us to fail to see the fallacy of looking for success outside. Indeed, for many of us, much of our lives have been spent satisfying external targets set by other people, be it in school, for an organisation, or even for our parents, friends and family.
If that has been the predominant experience, it is perhaps not surprising that so many of us get caught-up in looking for success outside, rather than turning our attention within.
Becoming aware of how you define success for yourself is the starting point. It is the starting point for exploring how that definition then shapes your hopes and ambitions and how you live. Start by asking yourself:
What am I striving towards – am I looking for success outside?
If the answer is yes, challenge yourself to consider what it might feel like to turn your attention away from external benchmarks and to look within.
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