Yes, we all want to be successful. We all want the cars, the houses, the trips and adventures, the gadgets, the booze, the men and/or women…we want it all — and we believe the only way of getting there is by being 'successful.' Is that what it means to be successful? If you would take away all the perks and all the money, would that mean that you had lost your success?
Most of us will answer, no — success isn't dependent on the things we accumulate, but rather on the actions we take and what we accomplish. In other words, what we accomplish is indicative of whether or not we are successful. If we don't accomplish anything, if we don't ever win, then we cannot be successful. But is that completely true?
There are countless articles on Elite Daily regarding the achievement of success. If you surf the net, you'll surely find countless blogs, articles and videos explaining or recommending ways of most effectively becoming successful. On the other hand, I have not come across much in terms of defining success itself. This is surprising because the only way of creating anything — whether it's success or something else — is by understanding exactly what it is that you are attempting to create.
If you want to build a computer then you must know how to define it, how it works and how it is built. The same goes for creating a business or a relationship. Most businesses fail in part because they lose track of their purpose, what they define themselves as. Most relationships fail because each individual's definition of a relationship within a relationship differs. If you can't properly define success then you're foolish to think that you can create it.
So what is the correct way of defining success? That really depends on each individual person. Success is only important in as much as what the meaning holds for us individually. Your full definition of success will differ greatly from mine. Just as yours is likely to differ from your neighbors. The definition of success lies within the purpose it plays — why do you want success?
Answer this and you will have a general definition of what success is. If you want to be the leading lawyer in your firm, then achieving said goal is part of your definition of success. If being loved by your children is what you want more than anything, then that is a part of your definition of success. However, no matter what your main focus of 'success' is for you, there is one part that never changes.
Success should not be confused with achievement, as most of us confuse it. It is not the achievement alone that we should hold as the deciding factor of whether or not we are successful. What matters most is that we did the best that we possibly could, having to work within whatever uncontrollable parameters manifested themselves in the outside world. Success is doing the best you can, given the circumstances. Success is making progress by giving your work your fullest and unwavering attention and not quitting until you are either out of time or out of possibilities. Success is never quitting.
Saying that you aren't successful unless you win is not giving yourself enough credit. Losing can be more of a success than winning. Who is more successful, the runner that trained intensely for the last three months only to beat out one more of his opponents, or the runner who knew he would win so didn't bother to put in any effort, winning the race easily, by the smallest mark she ever has before?
Success does not lie in the result — success lies in the progress that was made. In order to establish whether or not you experienced success, you must not only compare your newest result to your last result (results have many uncontrollable variables that influence them), but also the amount of work and effort that you put in prior to reckoning day.
If we were to spend more time focusing on how successful our progress was, we would be much more efficient than we are now. Failing to win does not mean that you failed any more than winning means you are successful — it means that you succeeded in winning, but not that you succeeded where it counts most: in your personal growth. Focusing on your personal progress will help you stay focused when staying focused and positive is hardest — when you don't get the results you hoped for or expected.
If we define success as winning or as the monetary gain that often accompanies success, we will inevitably find ourselves disappointed and disheartened. Success only matters in terms of your progress. How hard you work for what you want and how focused you remain is the only definition of success that matters. All else is just extra weight.
Subscribe to Elite Daily's official newsletter, The Edge, for more stories you don't want to miss.