If you’re anything like me, the word “success” is a vague word that causes self-doubt.
Questions pop in your head like:
- “Am I successful?”
- “Will I ever find success?”
- “Do I deserve success?”
Obviously, I won’t go over what success means to you (because success means different things for different people). But I will help you find success or at least give you ideas to reach farther.
In the Western world, “success” tends to have a monetary definition but there are a lot of ways to define success, which SHOULD be defined as happiness.
“Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”
Money is not the answer to your problems. Finding happiness through helping others is the greatest way to find true, long-lasting success.
Time is Everything
Opportunities rarely come knocking on the door asking if you’re ready for success. If that was the case, everyone would be happy, right?
Time is the deciding factor in making something valuable. The investment of time, the compromise of sharing your time, spending time in giving to others or soaking yourself in a seemingly pointless project.
Money is important, yes, but when someone hits your car, the pain of realizing the amount it takes to repair your car is less about the tangible money and more about the TIME it takes to gain enough money to pay off the repairs. “Time” isessentially why money is so valuable.
Plus, those who have unlimited amounts of money tend to look for other ways to fill the void of happiness (shopping, partying, drugs, travel, etc.). Money is a distraction for those who don’t see it for what it truly is – a “distraction.” And making money is a time investment. “Time is money” and thus, “money is time.” BUT.
“Money cannot buy happiness.”
Another well-known quote.
If you think about it, your most valuable friendships are the ones that have involved the most time, whether from years of knowing each other or from countless hours hanging out (ranting about work, talking about relationship troubles, etc.). The time you invest in your friendships is what inevitably ups the value of them.
Family has a value you can’t replace, but without the proper time investment, relationships with your family members can deteriorate, thus decreasing the potential value. Friends can feel more like family than actually family to some, right?
Think about what you do with your time.
Do you spend most of your time watching TV? Or do you use your time to create? Do you spend quality time with your pets? Or do you cook more than you talk to others?
Whatever it may be, whichever you spend the most time with will eventually turn into what means the most to you. And this includes doing nothing with your time.
Work Hard No Matter What
The worst thing you can do with your time is waste it.
Wasting time is the complete opposite of what I was talking about before. If you “waste your time,” you begin to feel accustomed to not improving something in your life. And if you think about it, “wasting time” actually just improves your ability to waste time without guilt. Which is the worst consequence of not doing something with your time!
Think back in school when you were completing assignments, reading books, fulfilling to-do lists that most adults don’t have the patience for – which is backwards to me! I teach private music lessons and I find middle schoolers often more productive than adults students! But why is that?
As we grow older, we grow accustomed to a certain level of productivity and where it takes places. Usually, this productivity occurs when a boss or manager tells you to meet a deadline (for example). When this becomes the standard for working hard toward something, something that is not for personal reasons, then when given the opportunity to work on your own time, things tend to “fall through the cracks.” Right?
When sitting at home on the weekends, without a boss to tell you what to do, usually the time is full of relaxation and non-productivity (which don’t get me wrong, is healthy to a certain degree). But when sitting at home doing nothing becomes the standard, then there’s a disconnect. You’re only productive at work and you can’t find inspiration for productivity at home.
It’s a type of psychological association that makes “productivity” difficult to achieve when a boss isn’t telling you what to do. Like at work.
How do you fix this?
Be productive ALL THE TIME.
Even relaxing can be productive. Plan to sit and relax for a few hours for the sake of re cooperating, but force yourself to keep a limit. When things are planned and time is set aside to achieve more than one thing, you might find a level of SUCCESS that is ultimately more fulfilling.
Take the financial strategy of 50/20/30 and apply it to your life:
- 50% will be focused toward a career/job/work
- 20% will be focused on relaxing
- 30% will be focused on fulfilling hobbies, socializing, working on personal projects, etc.
Everyone needs to waste time now and then, but be structured about it.
By maintaining a level of structure in every activity, the sense of productivity will be kept and your overall mood will shift. You will find yourself more focused, more engaged in life, and generally more driven. And this drive will result from being more goal-oriented.
Work hard all the time, no matter what. Be as productive as possible at your job. Take the most relaxing hour at a massage place. Fulfill a passion by investing time into a hobby. Each activity should have purpose. This in turn, will help you find a level of success not found with money.
Success in this fashion is far more rewarding.
Build and They Will Come
There’s another old quote that states, “if you build it, they will come.”
It’s a quote to help inspire productive people that everything will be worth it in the end even if it may not seem like it during the process.
Scientists on Antarctica have searched for nearly 100 years for secrets beneath the snowy, unwelcoming weather. Through all their hard work there was very little reward, until Vostok station finally uncovered a magnificent find.
The world’s 5th largest lake was discovered and named Lake Vostok, buried under 2.2 miles of snow and ice. An entire ecosystem untouched by the changing elements of the Earth’s climate for over 30 million years! An amazing find for the scientific community – something of which was never expected.
No one knew this lake existed until only 30 years ago. A huge lake discovered only recently. Thank goodness the scientists kept going with only a DREAM to inspire them.
When working hard, when building your dream, you might never know the outcome. Working hard for the sake of working hard is an important factor for a well-rounded human being. The reward and promise of “success” might come in many shapes and forms, sometimes not in monetary value, but it will come if you work hard.
So although being productive and shaping out your time into a 50/20/30 strategy may not seem like much, shooting for a consistent level of personal improvement will set you up for whatever success might come your way.
Always Be Prepared
Another quote that happens to be the Boy Scout Motto is “be prepared.”
If you don’t work at keeping a consistently productive and organized life you will not be PREPARED for success.
“Dress for success” is another quote that applies too. Without the look, the attitude, the ability for success, you may never find it. Dress for the job you want or else you won’t look the part and my never be offered the job.
Study, learn, and practice your craft or else you may never be prepared for the opportunities you come across.
Amateur opera singers are known to learn full operas in preparation for the slight chance a lead singer becomes ill and a replacement is needed. This is exactly how Alfredo Kraus came to fame (if my memory serves me correctly).
So work hard. Make specific short term goals that are achievable. And then continue working hard!
I hope you found this article inspiring. Or in the very least, thought-provoking.
“Success” is a strange label for “happiness,” so just keep in mind that chasing after a passion while helping others around you will be the best way to go. Money isn’t everything, despite how the media wants us to believe.
The Western “consumer society” psychologically manipulates its audience into thinking:
Without that product I won’t be happy.
But don’t fall for it. It’s been a marketing strategy for a hundred years to play on human emotions.
Comparing yourself to others more fortunate is sadly human-nature. We want what is best for us to ensure our survival. But in today’s world, there are so many ways to survive. And money is only a necessary evil to help fund the true goal of finding happiness. Without a level of financial support, happiness will always be tainted. But having enormous amounts of items, products, things and materials will not be the deciding factor of your happiness.
Feeling fulfilled in life, feeling that your life matters and that you’ve made a difference is the goal. This will bring more happiness than a generic definition for “success.”
Best of luck in everything you do.
I hope I’ve helped encourage you into believing in yourself!