What is Success?

How do you define success and how do you measure it?

Success is a term which gives you happiness and satisfaction. At the same time when you and others feel proud of you…”

Achievement of an action within a specified period of time or within a specified parameter.”

If I follow the Ayurvedic model I could identify eight levels of success:

Physical success:
I guess reaching the top of a mountain would feel pretty successful, just like I feel when I run a set distance. Our relationship with our bodies can be full of pride or shame. I have seen many people full of success as the scales confirm their weight loss or the gym member proud of their six pack or their body beautiful. I also see people recovering from illness. The stroke patient who is talking or walking again. My favourite is the child learning to use their body as they develop the skills of speech and also of dexterity.

Social success:
This is often related to who you know, levels of acceptance and belonging. Are you one of us, or one of them? Being invited to the right place or event in the knowledge that you have made it in the social set is success. This may be an invitation to the local bingo club or the masonic lodge both are groups of people who see themselves as ‘us’ and all outsiders as ‘them’. At school were you invited to all the birthday parties or, on occasions, excluded? At work does you face fit? Are you on line for promotion? Or, do you not stand a chance of getting on where you are because you are simply not one of ‘us’? Success is in acceptance.

Intellectual success:
This may be academic so that you are loaded with letters after your name and have enough degrees to start your own thermometer. It could be that you have written seminal books, have articles and research papers published, appear in the media as the resident expert. When it is not academic it is the person with an intellect like a whetted knife that is so sharp and fast that they can win any debate or cut you down with their sarcastic wit.

Emotional success:
This comes in two forms.
The first is love and romance getting the right partner/lover/spouse. It could be the emotional fulfilment of motherhood or the successful charity worker.
The second is the business leader. It may be a market staff or a multinational company. Both love and business require passion, energy and commitment. Do you realise that most successful mothers would make good business people but they seldom realise it. Success is usually in the form of recognition and appreciation for their achievements

Mental/conceptual success:
This is the upstanding member of the community. The committee member, parish counsellor, youth club leader or even the bingo club organiser. They may be politicians, charity leaders, judges, police officers, teachers, doctors and so on. The church leaders and commissioners, colonel, those that are chosen for special recognition for their efforts the MBE, OBE, those recognised in the annual honours lost. At the top end we have people that would be seen as aristocracy, the monarch, lords, ladies and knights of the realm. Success is seen in the title and in the status of the position that the title gives.

Intuitive sensitive reflective success:
There is a personality type who tends to be quiet, who lives a more internalised existence and may even separate themselves from the rest of society in communities, monasteries, ashrams and so on. It may be strange to see meditation, or the ability to still the mind as the object of success. For these people success is in being good, positive, helpful, empathic, sensitive and attending to the needs of the world. Often it may be in a hermitage, in hours of prayer and dedication. Success is in the ability to live a good life being neither happy nor sad, in maintaining a state of simply ‘being’ where thoughts are seen as powerful as deeds and goodness, in all its forms, as a virtue.

Creative problem solving success:
The progress of human existence has been created and dictated by the collective creative imagination of human consciousness. The first and the most simple of all machines, the wheel, transformed every life from there on. The ability to make a cup of tea or put a man on the moon is the living success of the creative imagination. Creativity is seen in the arts, in all the artistic forms, in science, agriculture, industry, economics, sociology and psychology. Success in this area is the development and application of the genuine newness and originality of pure creativity.

Love, the ultimate success:
Love is the glue that holds all things together, just as hate is the force that blows all things apart. Love, in its pure form, steps over all boundaries of race, religion, ethnicity, class, gender, and orientation. In pure love all needs are met, no one ever goes short of anything. In love we have heaven on earth now. The success of love in human expression is when the lion sits down with the lamb, when the Catholics and the Protestants of Northern Ireland live in peace, when the Israelis and the Palestinians come to an agreement, when Islam and the rest of the world find an accommodation, when men and women see each other as equals. When all are one with the same value, we have the ultimate success, this is pure love.

What is success for you?
My definition of any person’s success is simply this:

If you can wake in the morning with a smile on your face feeling good about the day you are about to have and if you can go to bed at night feeling good about the day you have just had then, you are a successful person

To truly find your feelings of success you need to be honest with yourself and do things that make you feel good. The rule is that if it makes you feel good then do it if it makes you feel bad then don’t do it. Happiness and success go together. If you are not happy you are not successful no matter how many possessions or how much money you have.

Take care and be happy

Sean x

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