Redefining success

As a child dreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up I desired to be a number of things. Someone like librarian Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a veterinarian, an actress, and later a journalist. Being successful meant having a house of my own (preferably with a big lake with a weeping willow tree dipping its leaves into it), being married, and being comfortable with money. As the video I am about to share shows, our definition of success has come to be about money and a career. Yet, there is a great freedom in acknowledging that success doesn't have to be about the amount of money in our banks, or the total value of our assets.

Motivational philosopher Jay Shetty begins his spoken-word piece describing an experiment in which a primary school teacher asked her pupils to complete an assignment explaining what they wanted to be when they grew up.

As you would expect there were responses like astronaut, actor, singer and scientist.

One astute little boy's response was that he wanted to be happy.

"John, I think you've misunderstood the assignment," the teacher told him.

"Miss, I think you've misunderstood life," he replied.

If only each and every one of us had matured with that idea in mind from a young age!

True success, then, comes from happiness. And happiness is a very subjective thing. In one set of circumstances one person could be overjoyed, yet someone else in the same situation could be filled with dread.

As a good friend often reminds me, perception is reality.

As Shetty says, we run around trying to find happiness but it is an "inside job". It comes from within us and we can chose to be happy with the circumstances that we have.

There are of course times when we want our circumstances to change in order to be happy, and during those times we must devise a plan for steps we can take to overcome the difficulty.

However, we should also look inside ourselves during those times to figure out what we already have that makes us happy.

And whilst material things don't have to be a complete no-no for finding our bliss, it also helps to consider what it is about ourselves, just as we are, that brings us joy. Allowing ourselves to be a human being rather than a human doing.

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