What does success mean to you?

January 22, 2021
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To be successful means different things to different people. Even to people in the same activity, class, or event, success may mean a different thing to each one involved. For some, participating in an event like the Olympics is success; to others being in the top 5 of an activity is and yet to others only being number 1 qualifies as success. Different strokes for different folks you’d agree. Success is important to humans because happiness, which is one of the main aims of living results when we get a healthy dose of success in our affairs and endeavors – a healthy dose of a feeling of success.

Considering how important that regular dose of ‘a feeling of success’ is to our well-being, it is critically important that we know what success means in all of our endeavors. Each time you make decisions about the future, please be sure to gain clarity about the following:

  1. How does what I wish to do align with my vision of the future?
  2. What does success look like or mean to me?
  3. How will I differ when I become successful?
  4. What are the critical success factors?
  5. What is the price for this success & am I willing to pay it?

Answering these questions each and every time you are considering a new endeavor will help you understand clearly what success is and enjoy the joys it brings and avoid pitfalls. In an extreme case, applying this saved my life or at least some considerable material loss in what was a very small matter recently.

I had decided to apply all the points from the security briefing we recently received at the office and that week I sought and used alternative routes to and from the Office. After a little research, I found out that I could use a major highway to the Office. On the 1st day I used the new route, as I exited the Highway, I joined the road leading to the Office at the farthest lane on the left which was 3 lanes away from the Service lane (on the right side of the road). The point I joined the road was about 4 kilometers away from the office and I thought to myself that I would be able to navigate to the service lane in that distance and enter the Office.

But being new to the road I underestimated the nature of traffic in it. As soon as the lights turned green, it appeared that we were on a super F1 race. ‘Omo’, see as people dey run 200km/hour! I turned the light (trafficator) to indicate I was going right but as I peered in my mirror the speeding drivers behind and beside me would not abate. I couldn’t slow or stop and so I was carried on in that crazy stream past my Office. I made up my mind to go to the next junction, and make a U-turn and try to make a second attempt to get to the Office. This time around, when I did the turn, I went straight to the Service Lane & so it was easy to turn into the Office although I was a bit late.

Many years ago I had defined what success meant to me each time I drove – Drive safely to arrive alive with the car in the same shape I left, will not constitute a nuisance to other road users, including pedestrians, and drive in a way to preserve them and their cars. If success that morning meant getting to the office on time and I had insisted on achieving it on that 1st run, I am fully convinced that I would have been involved in a major traffic incident.

Each time I use that road I remember the incident and it reinforces in my mind the fact that what success means to us in each endeavor must be clear and must be in alignment with every other goal we have in life at all times, otherwise, we will run into a number of problems. These would include the fact that:

  1. We would end up making unnecessary sacrifices to achieve it if we don’t situate it in our lives clearly. I could have endangered my life if I had insisted on getting to the Office on that first try.
  2. Defining success clearly will prevent us from the rat race of pursuing ‘certain levels of success’, even when we could make do with what we have. We thus spare ourselves a lot of anxieties and pain.
  3. We would not know when we achieve success – when we have ‘arrived’ and would continue to look for it even when we already have it. Such misguided exhaustion!

Do yourself a lot of good and boost that critical ‘feelings of success’ by always answering the critical questions listed above in all of your endeavors and by living your life according to the success parameters you have set in alignment with your life’s major goals. Do not define success by just what others say it is.

Image credit: Image by Grant Ritchie. Unsplash