“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” - Albert Einstein
Are you successful? What defines success to you? Is it what people say about you, or what you think about yourself? It seems that we are all in pursuit of what success represents to each of us individually. But what does it look like, feel like, and more importantly, when do we know we have it? Does it look like having material variety and choices? Or does it feel like unabashedly being able to exert power and influence over others and being respected? Which group do you fall into?
Often, we define success by whatever we've accomplished. It gives you a sense of fulfillment to feel that you are above the average person whose quest out in the world pales in comparison. But to really know what success entails, change how you perceive your place in this world and the life you live.
We are too busy molding our success through the signature of what others deem it to be. We evaluate ourselves accordingly, rather than drowning out the noise and assessing our own lives not through the looking glass of others.
What is the difference between being ordinary and extraordinary? The answer lies within you and with the extent to which you allow the outside world to define who you are and what you are. I’m sure this has happened to you (I know I am plagued with this at every turn). You walk into a boardroom, and before you utter a word or have a seat, the people in the room have already made their mind up about you. So what do you do? Do you spend the next two hours claiming your identity, or do you focus on why you are there and let prejudices and preconceived notions be damned? Take a guess at what my answer would be.
If you listen to your inner core, the trajectory of your life allows you to connect you with what your genius is in life. So what’s your genius? Take some time to ponder and answer this with integrity and truth for the very first time in your life. If you find the answer, therein lies the ability that will allow your life to be extraordinary because no one can duplicate what you can do and what you’ve focused on to represent your life.
1. Develop an intimate understanding as to what success represents for you.
Try to authentically understand what success means to you because if you are unsure or uncertain, there is a huge window of opportunity for others to label you as they wish and not as you would want. Help yourself by defining it through people you admire.
2. Success is measured by a state of mind, not by tangibles.
How have you handled stress or failure? Major setbacks can either be interpreted as a loss or as an opportunity to seek something new — starting out rather than ending up. What’s your approach?
3. Don't let others keep score of your victories.
The only stress you should impose on yourself is the one that is within you, the one that is used to apply energy to whatever successful outcome you're focused on. Lips of others be damned! They are not in your internal makeup and have no clue what the road to your success looks or feels like.
The only certainty that there is, is that there is no end to achieving and attaining success. The road is not a finite one, but a yellow brick road of wonders, questions, people, situations, circumstances, choices and everything in between. They all present themselves not on our time, but at the right time for things to happen. How that success materializes in your life happens to be a very personal expression of what you envisioned for yourself, and not through the barometer of others.
This article has been published on Forbes.com