Everyone wants to be a big success. Most people fantasize about having a lifestyle oozing with money, abundance, recognition, and unlimited opportunities. But what does success really mean from a philosophical view, and do we have the right picture of it?
As a society, we have the idea of success backward. Most people believe that success is achieved through money, fame, and power, but this is far from the truth. You don’t need these things to be successful. You can have all of these things and consider yourself successful, but you can also have them all and be very unsuccessful.
In truth, this is a very backward way to look at success. So let’s look at what success really means, how you can achieve it, and how you can reprioritize the important things in life, to be a happier, and more fulfilled person.
Success is a state of mind
Societies formula for success | abundance –> success –> happiness
The philosophical formula for success | happiness –> success –> abundance
Success is a state of mind. It corresponds with a high vibrational state which is associated with happiness, joy, gratitude, compassion, and all the light emotions and feelings you can experience.
Some people will be extremely miserable but consider themselves successful because they have achieved a particular career goal. Some people work their entire lives on something they hate and consider themselves successful because they make a lot of money from it. How backward is that?
We live in a society that prioritizes quantity over quality. This has an enormous influence over how we perceive success as a collective, and why our current model is so misleading. Most people will associate success with wealth and abundance, but it’s more complicated than that.
Success cannot be measured in assets, as everyone gets a different amount of value from their assets. That’s why many people who have so much are still miserable. Are they successful in your eyes?
How do we measure success?
Success must be measured by one’s own feelings of joy and satisfaction in life. Happiness has no affiliation with money and material acquisition. It’s not a finish line, but a sensation of satisfaction, one that’s closely associated with gratitude and abundance.
Success is, and always has been a perception. It’s an intrinsic achievement rather than an extrinsic accomplishment. If you keep chasing superficial things to be ‘successful’, then you’re probably not enjoying life as it is, right in front of your eyes.
If you sacrifice all of the good things in life to work towards some invisible end goal, then I would consider this as failing. You’re failing because you’re not enjoying your life, or making the most of your time here.
Therefore, a better mentality is to aim for happiness, and you will be successful. Money, wealth, abundance, and all of these things are nice, but they’re not necessary to be happy. Happiness is conceded through the mind because it is intrinsic. It is built through your perceptions, mindsets, and outlook on life.
If you prioritize your happiness as a milestone for success, then you’re going to drastically change up your lifestyle, and your ways of thinking. By aiming for stronger values and things that actually matter, you’re going to set yourself on a more fulfilling and prosperous path in life.
What are the metrics for success?
How you define success is very important. If you think success is achieved through chasing superficial ambitions like a big house or nice car, then you’re going to form a lifestyle around this perception.
If you reprioritize your highest values in life and give success a deeper meaning, then you will start chasing more worthwhile things. By re-evaluating your values to those that genuinely serve your growth and happiness, you set yourself on a better course for life.
Conventional metrics of success
- Money and wealth
- Fame and glory
- Approval and validation from other people
- Social status
Genuine metrics of success
- Satisfaction with your life, and who you are
- The desire to evolve and grow as a person
- Human connection, friendship, support, and love
- Being a positive influence on other people
- Gratitude and appreciation for everything happening in your life
- Kindness, generosity, and compassion for other people and living things
- Sense of happiness and joy that you get out of the little things in life
- Self-awareness and self-actualization
Why should success be measured as a feeling?
Success is not an end goal or achievement, but a sensation, an ongoing experience. We tend to place ridiculous expectations on future ideals, that success is a material achievement. As soon as you pass a particular threshold of wealth, suddenly you are considered successful. The problem with this is that emotions and feelings are completely left out of the equation.
The sole purpose of why people want money and ‘success’ is to buy these sensations of happiness. Many people think that these superficial metrics are tickets to happiness when they’re not.
From this perspective, you can be extremely miserable but you’re still considered successful. Likewise, you can be happy, feeling abundant, with a good family, and you are considered unsuccessful if you haven’t made something of yourself.
As long as you associate success with material acquisition, you can be extremely successful, but extremely unhappy. No matter how much you have, you won’t feel abundant as long as you hunger for more. Even though you have all the money in the world, you don’t value it.
You sacrifice every joy in life to get a little further ahead. You haven’t enjoyed the fruition of your hard work, but somehow you’re still considered successful. It’s important to look into this mentality and understand what success means to you personally. Success is, and always has been a feeling. If you don’t have the feeling of joy and abundance, then everything else you have becomes meaningless.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you must be successful to be happy. You must be happy to be successful. If you’re not happy, you’re not successful. Money is not a measurement of success. Your happiness and self-fulfillment are the only accurate metrics.
What is the connection between success and abundance?
If you feel like you already have everything you need, then crossing the finish line won’t make a difference. This feeling of ampleness doesn’t correlate with your material condition. As long as you can keep a roof over your head and food on the table, you have everything you need. Whether you see it this way or hunger for more is due to your perception.
If you can look at life in a way that you have everything you need, and can enjoy the fruits that life provides, then you are successful. Everything else you achieve will be a bonus. You have already accomplished that sensation of success, which is to feel abundant and to have a high vibrational state.
Abundance is a mental state of not ‘needing’ anything else. Rich people can still ‘need’ a lot more, and poor people can ‘need’ nothing else to be satisfied.
This must be the mentality of success, that anyone can obtain it in any given circumstance. If you wish to achieve great things in life, then you need to build a solid foundation that you aren’t chasing something to be happy. You should be doing whatever you do because you enjoy doing it. You should be working because you are excited to contribute, and to make a difference.
If you have big goals then pursue them, but remember that you are already successful as long as you do the inner work to achieve a high vibrational state. This mentality will help you achieve those goals, as you aren’t motivated by need. You are doing it because you authentically enjoy it, and that’s what matters. If you can look at it this way, then the actual result doesn’t matter.
How you can culminate a mentality of success, to be successful
Success culminates through self-belief, ambition, and motivation. You build up the motivation to achieve the things you want by refining your goals and ambitions every day and taking steps to achieve them. Do this by having a crystal clear picture of who you want to become, and the greater purpose behind it all.
You should be inspired by your goals, and feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from solely working on them. If you keep your goals right in front of your eyes, the scaffolding to get there will start constructing itself. Ideas will start to flow.
If you don’t enjoy it but endure it, then not only will you never achieve your goals for that avocation. You are already unsuccessful as you aren’t gaining anything from it. In this case, your work is not making you any happier. It’s probably doing the opposite by adding excess stress and worry to your life, and making you feel desperate for a positive outcome.
Success doesn’t just appear from nothing. Success is a seed that you plant as an idea. If you tender this seed, it will grow. For the seed to flourish, you must water it and nurture it until it bears fruit.
Practice continually, research and improve upon what you know. You must build your base. Your mind must be the fertile soil bed where the seed will grow. But never lose sight of what success really is.
How you should look at failure
Our society condemns failure and often instills the mentality that it must be avoided at all costs. This is far from the truth as every failure is essential for your development. Without the harsh lessons of failure, you do not know how to adapt and improve.
Accomplishment has never been achieved without enduring countless failures. Any big achievement requires a learning curve to get there. You cannot surf this learning curve without failing, learning through it, and adapting your approach. Personal growth is the act of trial and error, and as long as you are willing to fail, you allow yourself to adapt, innovate, and change.
In reality, there is no such thing as failure, as each failure is a building block to success. The end goal is achieved by climbing a mountain of your failures. Each corpse of failure is a platform to reach new heights. Without failure, you wouldn’t have anything to climb.
How can you find success through having a dream?
Find what you love and pursue it. When people plan success for the sake of making money or getting something out of it, they will fail every time. If you do something solely because you love doing it, and because it’s a hobby to you, then you are on the right path.
To be successful in the conventional sense, you must be drawn to what you do through a passion. You must want to do it, not just to achieve something out of it, but because the process sparks something inside you. Through your enjoyment of doing it, there is no failure. There is no loss, you will work towards your dreams for the intrinsic satisfaction that the activity provides.
A dream is what makes people successful. With a dream, it’s possible. Without a dream, there is no objective, thus nothing to work towards. You can drive a car around the suburbs, but you will get nowhere if you have no destination.
A vision is the most powerful tool someone can possess. A vision creates motivation, inspiration, and purpose. They don’t enjoy every moment of the process because they are focused on results. Instead of chipping towards it, they chase their tails.