May 29, 2011
Work, Love, and their Tango to Success
Instead, it leaps to happiness, connectedness, courage, purpose, positivity, and calm. When I see people who are living in a way that seems genuinely satisfying to them, I see success. Sometimes, part of that equation involves upscale homes, good incomes, and plenty of stuff, but not always.
I have friends and family members who are enormously happy, bubbly, and full of life. I also have some who are utterly miserable. The really happy ones do have some things in common, but not all qualify as successful, in the traditional sense. The main things they share, from what I see, are a sense of purpose, a support system of loving connections, and a genuine acceptance of themselves.
A sense of purpose often comes from work, paid or unpaid. Although most of us dream a little about having endless free time to laze about, I think that in reality, too many aimless hours lead to discontent and unhappiness. That’s not to say that I’d like to keep working for a paycheck for the rest of my life because given the chance, I’d chuck the job right this minute. It doesn’t even mean that I wouldn’t like more time to simply be; it just means that, in my opinion, success requires action—action that makes a person’s heart happy, action that matters to them and fulfills something inside, action that feeds their souls. It makes no difference what that something is, it only matters that it matters to them.
Another thing that the successful folks share is love. That love isn’t always the romantic variety (though that sure is nice), but it is deep and true and constant. My definition of success involves giving and receiving love—being connected to someone, being genuinely involved in their life, and having someone to love you in return.
I have some friends who struggle to put food on the table and some who have a ridiculous amount of money. Happily, success exists at every point on that spectrum. The most successful of them recognize their own gifts and celebrate the contributions of others. They aren’t petty, they don’t snipe at people, and they don’t feel the need to put on one face in public while wearing a different, less attractive one behind the scenes.
These people attract all sorts of good things. People want to be around them, they want to learn from them, they sometimes even want to emulate them. There is a light that comes from people like this, an almost tangible goodness that stems from deep inside and branches out, welcoming others to soak it in.
That, to me, is genuine success.