We live in a time where success is defined in innumerable ways. Deeply rooted in our psyche is the struggle of the ego. This struggle makes us look inwards and always find ourselves wanting. No matter how much we gain, nothing seems to be enough. The outward response to this is self-depreciation, self-deprivation and arrogance. We spend a great deal of time comparing ourselves to others either consciously or subconsciously, and we borne within our hearts fear and insecurity; failing to see our own value in the process. We wonder why people accept us, and others reject us. The desire for love and respect when denied leaves us wounded and longing. Thus the need for a successful life. This life will then incorporate us into the society and make us feel accepted, irrespective of our race and background.

For too long, our world has measured success incorrectly. We have championed, promoted and followed some wrong people along the way and judged others on the heaviness of their salary packages, eloquence of speech, model of cars they use and their neighborhood of residence. We have focused on the wrong things and have made terribly awful judgments along the way. Are these people truly successful, or they have just found ways to taint the windscreen that exposes us to the clarity of life?

How do you define success? Growing up, I equated money and power with success and for a long time, this has framed my mind. Go through school and get educated. Chase money, power and fame and eventually call yourself a successful man. You could write a couple of best-sellers in the process narrating how you accrued such wealth, self-actualized and got to the top. However with time, things have changed. I have realized not everyone gets to the top. As different as our fingers are, so are our lives. Success is therefore a very personal thing. What drives one person may be different for another, and understanding how others measure success can help you better understand your own definition.

Success is achieving what you have set out to do. This definition of success starts to shape more of an internal feeling, a sense of purpose rather than the pursuit of accolades. This includes getting the job you have always wanted, getting accepted into college and the achievement of inner peace. Success comes only by persevering despite failure. The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure. Winston Churchill defines success as “Walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” This means you have to go ahead and make the mistakes. Don’t be discouraged when you fail because it gets low before it gets high.  When you make mistakes, mount your head high and learn from them.

Success is not only found in great achievements, but also in small daily tasks. You don’t need groundbreaking and spectacular performances before you announce your presence in the world of success, but even the small affairs of daily life can make you successful. I personally keep a diary in which I write my goals for the day. Immediately I’m done accomplishing a goal, I cross the task out as done. This delivers a huge endorphin boost no matter how minute and inconsequential the task is. It is my desire to become successful to live my true purpose and have a positive impact on the lives of people by uplifting them and inspiring them, by working and treating each day as a gift with a destination in mind.

There is nothing quite as useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all” – Peter Drucker.

A metric is defined as a system or standard of measurement. Being able to achieve a success metric is hard, but knowing which metric to achieve is important. Choose your own metric for success and personally discover what you value. The thing is you will end up flowing with the current of the culture around you if you don’t choose a suitable metric for success. Don’t feel like a failure just because you don’t meet someone else’s metric, but strive to build yours and give yourself the kudos when you achieve this benchmark.

Luckily for us, personal success is not a matter of background, intelligence or native ability, but the capacity to get the very best out of ourselves under almost all conditions and circumstances. This defines our ability to adapt to the present circumstances and tailor them to change our lives for good. Don’t just measure immediate tangible results to define success but consider what you have learnt in the long term and how it will help you achieve success in the future.

People have contemplated the role of luck in being successful. Even though luck can contribute to success regardless of what anyone tells you, no successful person is just lucky. Luck provides you with a good start and puts you on the right pedestal to start your journey to success, but the fuel needed to continue this journey is hard work. A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.

Good health is one factor that should not be underestimated when mentioning the determinants of success. The enjoyment of life is at best incomplete in poor health. In our part of the continent, some people are unable to eat the choicest of foods when they get successful, because of an underlying health condition. When starting out your journey, remember to take good care of your health because good health renders your performance adequate, and the more you perform, the greater your chances of success. A healthy lifestyle improves productivity. This reduces absenteeism and results in an individual having improved job evaluations and opportunities for advancement and future employment. That being said, your mental health should not be exempted because being optimistic has a self-fulfilling effect in propelling you towards success.

There are several common measures of success by society definitions today. Money and material possessions are a rather universal equivalent of success. This assumption carries many flaws because it sees them as a goal in itself and not a consequence of your achievements. With wealth comes popularity and these are external measures of success. This can be seen in the lives of famous entrepreneurs, writers and actors. However, there is a whole universe of success definitions which are invisible, can’t be easily measured and are highly personalized. External measures of success are flawed because they were created by someone else, so faring our achievements against these artificial standards means we evaluate ourselves against a bar someone else created.

It makes more sense to measure success according to our own ruler – whether we find what we do meaningful to us, whether it helps other’s lives improve and whether we have more happy memories than regrets at the end of our lives.

So a meaningful life and success have nothing to do with wealth, fame and the number of expensive cars one has. It has everything to do with working on what makes us happy, surrounding ourselves with the people who bring love and warmth to our lives and leading lives that make sense to us. The search formula for success is found in one word. Contentment. The truth is the more you live in contentment, the more productive and fulfilled you will be, and you will live in greater success as the masterpiece you were created to be.

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Who wants to make bad decisions? No one! But over time, I’ve learned that indecision can often be worse.  Indecision and uncertainty can be dangerous, and let you to settle in your comfort zone thinking you have reached the pinnacle of your life when you are just about starting. You could have shot past the target and achieved all your goals but because of indecision you are at where you are now – tired but hungry for success

Maybe it has gotten to that part of your career where you have to take that step; the step into the future. It might probably be time for you to tie that knot with your fiancée, take that loan to start your business or further your education. How do you do it? Usually we tend to consult our friends and mentors and find out their views concerning our steps before we take them, but bear in mind the step of the righteous man is ordered by the Lord. Just like starting an engine, all you have got to do is a say a word of prayer as you push to start and hope the car moves. Without starting the engine, the car stays stagnant.

What do you do when you want to take that step? Decision is the biggest and boldest step in any journey worth taking. Deliberately deciding to do something different; deciding to make a change; deciding to go on a big adventure — and then wanting it so badly that not achieving it then becomes the impossible notion in one’s mind. This requires you to show a fearless daring spirit. It is with this spirit one achieves a goal or a task he/she has set his mind to do.

We have become too comfortable — finding ourselves standing still in our comfort zones. Quite simply, our comfort zone is an easy place to be. We retreat to our comfort zones to feel a sense of ease and certainty. We know what to do within it. We know how to excel. Why question what works for us? Sometimes we shouldn’t; however, when this place of retreat becomes a blockade between what our essential selves want, then we must challenge the status quo. But challenging the status quo isn’t fun. As a result, we may overstay our welcome in the comfort zone.

Without realizing it, from that function of comfort, comes the desolate and uninspiring interim. Most ironically, this period of waiting is a very uncomfortable place to be.  I often don’t notice that I’m waiting – standing rigid in my comfort zone.  I trick myself into believing there is a good reason that I’m waiting for something external to happen.

An anonymous quote reads, “Indecision is the graveyard of good intention”. Do you feel that fear, or a sense of helplessness, stand in your way between where you are now and where you want to be? If you do, ask yourself why? Utilize the question of “WHY?” to get to the root of your inaction. It may take five or more why’s to break down the amorphous uncertainty, but without doing so, you remain exactly where you were, without any clue as to what your next step should be. Asking yourself “why?” clarifies what is standing between you and your bold action. This questioning process won’t take the action for you, but it will provide you with a greater certainty and a sense of control towards your next step.

I believe the first step, that deliberate decision to do something fresh, bold, and different, is the hardest. Of course, it’s also the most important step, because after that first step, several things happen to your advantage to help you along your journey.

By stepping into your future and claiming it with purpose, synchronous events align to help steer your path toward a future filled with promise. This is not a patronizing statement to seduce you into overestimating your abilities. Unless you examine if your present circumstances are serving you, you remain stuck and inhibited as one of the masses; conditioned to be like everyone else that we attempt to stand out by decorating our external shell, hoping to be noticed as being different to others in some way when typically we are all the same.

It is high time you came into terms with your reality and acknowledge the fact that your reality is anything but fixed; dynamic, pliable and mostly dependent on your inner world. Through inner transformation in the form of personal growth and self-awareness, your preconceived ideas of how life should unfold are distilled into your life’s experiences which in turn become your reality. Create a clear and concrete visual representation of your future plans and your dream future and have a cinematic feel of your life as it unfolds.

You must be willing to provide the ideal circumstances for it to flourish and let go of your past conditioning and the beliefs and thoughts that stifle your personal growth. To get from where you are now to where you want to be, you will need a plan. If you are still in school, you have plenty of time to examine study options and career-related options coupled with the freedom to explore a wide range of interests. Try out as many extracurricular activities as possible and talk to career advisors or anybody you think can give you some valuable advice.

If you have a degree but are unsure of what to do next, bear in mind you have limitless opportunities before you, so now’s the time to explore different options and take the time to figure out what you enjoy doing. I have a friend who volunteered for a company for a year before she was employed by the same company. You could try out a job for several months, even if you aren’t sure you will like it, speak to people doing work you think you might enjoy or try out volunteer programs. This will provide the practical work experience that will look great on your resume when applying for jobs and perhaps help you get clear on what you would like to do in the future.

If anything you would want to do is expensive, don’t give up! If you are committed and determined, you can make your dreams happen. You could start working and saving to stash away enough money for the future. You could set up automatic bank transfers to a savings account and cook meals at home instead of eating out. Take note that small changes can make a big difference. You could also think creatively of ways to raise funds and apply for a scholarship with these funds. You can encourage yourself to take action by making use of available resources to your advantage.

Stay organized and make lists of things you need to do, as well as things you have already done. This will help you maintain an uncluttered and stress-free mind, so you don’t get bogged down with feelings of being overwhelmed. Remember to ask for help and ask for advice on the next step you would like to take. Your destiny is in your hands, ready to be shaped the way you want. Take it one step at a time and you will see yourself inching towards your dream each day.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one – Mark Twain

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