I want you to know that the life you desire can be created – it can be won, achieved, shaped, and lived. It is not easy, and it may require that you go against many of your present beliefs about how happiness and success are achieved. But it can be done.
To be truly happy, one must be successful. I don’t mean just achieving specific, concrete goals – I mean success in life. We’ll define happiness in future entries to this series – I think most people know what it feels like, but might not be sure how to define it.
So What is Success?
It depends on who you ask. To many, success means making a lot of money at a job other people think is desirable. Except those jobs are rarely desirable, and the people working in them are rarely happy.
To me, success means living my values. It means staying true to my beliefs, walking the walk while I talk the talk.
What do I value? I value my mind (Reason), having goals and a sense of direction (Purpose), and living in a way I can be proud of (Self-Esteem). These are the same values that Ayn Rand identified as the three Primary values in her philosophy of Objectivism.
In practice, that means always searching to understand the world, never evading the truth or being dishonest with myself. And it means having a number of goals I’m out to achieve.
Most people have goals, right? What makes mine so different?
Their goals are usually about making a certain amount of money, owning a house by age 30, and being married with exactly 2.5 kids and a well-behaved dog, maybe with some hectic European travel mixed in. What happens when they achieve those? Or when they don’t? Nothing good, either way. The former leaves a person feeling lost, while the latter leaves them feeling dejected.
My goals are impactful and continuous. I want to make the world a better place. I want to enjoy my time with my family, to be constantly learning and doing something I love. I want to support myself and have a flexible schedule so I can travel and experience new things. But above all, I want to enjoy my work. We spend a ton of time working – why not enjoy it? That one factor can have a huge impact on quality of life.
So here’s the definition of life success – my way:
Life Success is…
"A state of happiness resulting from the productive pursuits of one’s interests – where every life decision integrates core values and beliefs."
It means being happy because you’re being the real you, living life on your terms. Not doing what people expect you to do, or walking paths that have long since been worn thin.
Start Rethinking What Success Means to You.
In the next entry of the series, I’ll help you ask yourself the questions that will lead you to your own answer. But for now, remember that the people who are truly successful are the ones that are truly happy – not the ones trying to live how everyone else wants them to…
‘til next time!
"Life Atop Piestewa Peak" - Justin C. Chase
Stick Figure Photo