We want to succeed, dreaming, , hoping and waiting. We tell ourselves that tomorrow things will start to get better; the next paycheck, after the promotion, when the kids go to school. Certainly, all these events may be a jumping point, propelling us to the life we desire. Yet, tomorrow comes and goes, and we find ourselves still dreaming of a future that is somehow much better than the present. We need to stop monkeying around and get off this go-nowhere Merry-Go-Round and start living a successful life.
Successful living isn’t a universally defined term. I can’t tell you from the glory of my blogging chair the definition of what success means personally for you. Unfortunately, for many of us, we struggle to define what our personal success would look like. We entertain some vague notion of a life better than the one we currently are living. However, our vision of successful life keeps moving, remaining always a few steps beyond our grasp.
Successful Living Needs Clearly Defined Objectives
Vague goals without clearly defined end points are problematic. Often these goals are centered around dissatisfaction with the present. We live a quiet life of desperation, dreading the future, and abhorring our past. Yet our desperation is hard to escape. The more we achieve, the more we see there is left to do. We believe that the next success will change everything, and we will bask in the successful happy life of our dreams.
The successful, happy life of our dreams is an illusion when there is no concrete plan for success. Consequently, our dream is a hazy point somewhere in the blurry future. A place that our mind drifts to in a time travelling journey that never materializes.
Before we can learn how to live successfully, we need to know exactly how we personally define success.
“One of the most important key steps to achieve success in life is to know the meaning of success for your personal life.”~T. Franklin Murphy
Successful Living Obstacles
Life failure can occur in many ways. I bring up failure because it is the opposite of success. Successful living, therefore, is the opposite of failed living. Failure occurs in a variety of ways: Psychology teaches us that we seek pleasure and avoid pain. This is true, to a point. Certainly, hopes for pleasure often motivate action. We believe that success will pleasurable. Often it is, but only momentarily. We achieve our objective and feel a rush of joy and self-confidence. Yet, the pleasurable feeling of succeeding will pass, we will return to our own homeostatic normal. The problem with feelings is that feelings are subject to many internal influences. The pathological narcissist may fail at their objective, redefine reality, and feel pleasure in their failure (because they define it as a success). While an honest evaluation of failure may cause sorrow.
We may accomplish many great things but if our goals are unrealistic we feel as an unaccomplished failure. Certainly, we don’t want our goals hat require little or no effort. We may successfully accomplish these valueless goals but interpreting them as life success is a stretch.
Our goals need to challenge but not overwhelm. A pattern of successfully achieving these goals, especially when they are in key areas of our life should be interpreted as successful living. Reflection is essential. It is difficult to reflect on failure. Often failure hurts. However, wrapped within the hurt of failure are many significant lessons. We shouldn’t address the discomfort of failure by quickly moving to a new goal, or thoughtlessly blaming outside causes.
Honest reflection allows for examination of personal shortcomings or mistakes that contributed to the failure. Identifying areas of our efforts that can be improved upon is an essential ingredient for growth. Reflection of successful goal achievement also provides valuable insights. We can take note of choices that contributed to the success, marking these behaviors for future use. Trying to succeed on our own is a wasteful route. So many people have travelled the same road. their successes and failure are valuable information. We often get so hung up in our dream that we ignorantly pass over information that can save us from wasted time.
Perhaps, the books sold to tell you how to succeed provide less wisdom than someone who tried and failed. The person selling the book is motivated to sell the book, of course they promise success. We love success stories. All the great wisdom of those that tried and failed fade into the darkness.
We must seek wisdom from unbiased sources.
Social Media is Full of Dreamers
Crawling out of the wood work are those chasing huge passive income flows. They flash their fancy dreams, scoff at hard work, and think of success. I have followed many of their pages. Oddly, most I discovered have little marketable skills. They hope to succeed teaching others how to succeed. Most I notice disappear from social media. There empty positive thinking transferred to a new generation of dreamers.
Many passive income endeavors are anything but passive. They either require a large investment of money or a large investment of time and an original idea.
Happiness and Successful Living
A recent social media dreamer commented, “I would rather be rich and depressed than poor and happy.” Of course, such comments are not much more than thoughtless rambling. The desire to be rich is stimulated by the thought that riches will make you happy. They don’t. Having sufficient money relieves some suffering. And have an abundance of money provides opportunities.
Many rich people die depressed. Many die happy and fulfilled. It certainly leads me to believe their is more to successful living than a large bank account.
After fifteen years of writing blogs all success and wellness, I found that the blog itself will never produce much passive income. I spent much more money learning SEO skills, navigating website publishing sites, and studying code than the passive income will ever return. However, the challenge, the meaningful topics, and engagement add to my life. Measured by the google checks, I’m a complete failure.
Yet, my life is complete. I enjoy a variety of other activities. I finished a career, saved enough money to retire. Now, I live in a nice house. Near wonderful adult children that respect and appreciate me. I see each grandchild several times a week. And above all, I have a wife that I adore.
Books on Success
Perhaps, I have entered the realm of Abraham Maslow’s self-actualization, blessed enough to have most of my safety, physical and psychological needs met and now am able to flourish through self-actualizing activities, such as writing a psychology and wellness blog that provides little beyond a sense of meaning.
All these factors of my successful life didn’t magically materialize. They took sacrifice, continued effort, emotional intelligence, personal reflection, and several changes of direction. I have failed many times. I expect to fail several more times. Yet, somehow in the failure I am a success. I have discovered successful living.