How do you define success? Is it by the amount of money that you have in the bank, the size or quality of your house or car? Could success be defined by the ‘standing’ that you have in your local community, or in your workplace? Is success defined as much by what you do for others as what you do for yourself
I ask these questions because I have been having a debate with myself about how I define my own success. As someone who once slept on Victoria Station in London (those who have read ‘Growing Forward’ will be familiar with that story), I felt that having achieved ownership of my own home, having travelled quite widely and being debt-free means that I am successful. However, would someone who drives a Mercedes or BMW think that I was unsuccessful because I drive an old Ford Focus? And if they did think that, would I care?
It was once pointed out to me that most people who drive ‘high-end’ cars don’t actually own them, just as many people who live in exclusive large houses are mortgaged to the hilt. So perhaps it’s possible to create an illusion of success, so that other people want to be like you, without really knowing what you are?
I’m beginning to think that success is not about what you have, but who you are. Are you comfortable with yourself? When you look in the mirror, can you look yourself in the eye and know that you are true to yourself. That’s a real measure of success to me, but I would be interested to hear your views. And no, I’m not entirely un-materialistic, but I measure my own success on my ability to do things, rather than have things. My plans for the next year include a visit to Canada to celebrate with some special people, publishing my second book, and writing the third, as well as having some quality time to take part in activities that I really enjoy, such as watching cricket and socialising with friends. A little longer term there will be a trip downunder and a return visit to the Caribbean too. I’m happy with my house and car, it’s experiences that measure my success every time!
What about you?