So, have you pondered about it? What is the real meaning of success in life? What do you really want to achieve? What kind of life are you looking forward to living? For most people, they have no idea exactly what they want to achieve in their lives.
Most people are influenced by other people and they are often affected by the media to believe that being successful means living an extravagant lifestyle. And usually, most people think that success equals rich.
While it is true that financial success is an important part, it is not the main factor that defines your success.
In a simple term, this is what success really means:
“Success is the status of having achieved and accomplished an aim, objective, or goal.”
In other words, success is having achieved what you want in your life. It’s that simple and you don’t have to make it complicated.
You set a goal or an objective and then you achieve it, that’s a success.
Everyone Has a Different Definition for Success
The interesting thing to note is that everyone has a different meaning for success.
Ask someone young who is around age 30 and they will tell you they want to be financially successful. Money is their main priority and they are willing to sacrifice other areas of their lives to gain more monetary success.
Ask someone who is around age 50 and they will probably tell you they want a better relationship with their family. They seem to want to spend more time with people that they cared and loved and they don’t really care about if they are driving a luxury car or just an affordable one.
Ask someone who is at age 70 and they will tell you they want more time and health. They probably don’t care about being financially successful or how much they earn per month anymore.
As you can see, everyone’s definition of success is different.
Some people want to be financially successful and they want to earn $1 million dollars a month, while some want to earn $10,000 a month and living comfortably without having to manage a big company or business.
The key is to understand what you really want out of your life, for now.
Your definition of success can change according to your age and your life circumstances.
Regardless of it, if you want to achieve success in life, you must be absolutely clear about what you want. You need to define the success you desire before you can achieve it.
- Stop living life like a lost sheep.
- Stop following wherever the crowd is going.
- And stop living other people’s lives.
The first step to achieving the success you want is to find out exactly what you want to achieve.
Why You Need to Define Your Success
One of the most common reasons people fail to achieve what they want in life is because they have no idea what they truly want to achieve in their lives.
This is crucial because you simply can’t hit a target you can’t see.
And guess what, most people think that they know what they want out of life, but in fact, what they seek for are something general and something vague. Such as, “be happy”, “get rich”, or “make more money”.
These are not goals. These are vague wishes that are very general. Everyone wants to be happy and everyone wants to be rich or to make more money.
And this is why most people are not achieving it. Hence, don’t be like most people. Instead, choose to be more specific.
Clarity is Key to Success
You must understand exactly what you want out of your life in order to achieve it. If you don’t have a clear vision or specific goals to achieve, you will never be able to formulate a plan to work on them.
Think about it, if your goal is to “be happy”, how are you going to achieve it? The goal itself is too vague and you can’t measure it. And if you can’t measure it, how can you tell when you have achieved it?
The same goes for “to earn more money”. If this is your goal, you will never achieve it. Like I said, the goal is too vague and it lacks a measurement system where you can track.
How do you know when you have earned more?
If you are running an internet business, is earning an extra $1 from your advertisement means you have earned more? Or when you make an extra sale of $30? Or you only consider yourself successfully achieved your goal when you earn an additional $1,000 a month?
You see, there are so many possibilities and so many different meanings. This is why you need to be specific.
The more specific you are with your definition of success, the more likely you are going to achieve it.
Success Begins in Your Mind
Here’s what you need to understand – success begins in your mind.
When you know exactly what you want, you can project a clear picture of what success means to you in your mind. Some people called this visualization.
And when you can see it vividly in your mind, only then your mind can formulate a plan and transform your drive into action.
Like professional athletes and successful business people. They see the things that they want vividly in their mind and then work on them in real life.
I love how Jack Nicklaus put it:
“I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.”
Jack Nicklaus is one of the greatest golfers in the world. He said, “First, I see the ball where I want it to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then, the scene quickly changes, and I see the ball going there: its path, trajectory, and shape, even its behavior on landing. Then there is a sort of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous images into reality.”
There are plenty of studies and research have been conducted about the effectiveness of visualization. Once, an Australian psychologist, Alan Richardson, conducted an experiment with a group of basketball players.
Richardson divided the participants into 3 groups and tested their free throws ability:
The first group would practice free throws for 20 minutes every day.
The second would only visualize themselves making free throws, but no real practice was allowed.
The third one would not practice or visualize.
After 20 days, Richardson measured the players’ improvement. And he discovered that the first group who practice it has their skill improved by 24%. The third group who did nothing did not improve at all. And the surprise came for the second group where the players trained through visualization – 23% improvement.
The group of basketball players who trained their free throws solely through visualization had an improvement of as good as those players who did the training physically.
Such is the power of your mind.
And here’s something important you need to know. If you don’t have a clear vision for what you want, you can never project a clear picture of it in your head.
When you don’t have the vision, it is impossible for your mind to act on it.
Most people have vague goals and they have a very blurry vision for success. And that is why they are living in mediocrity and not living an extraordinary life that they desire.
Do you get it now?
You need to first define it vividly the success you want before your mind can work on it.
How to Define Your Success
Now that you understand the importance of defining your success, but how do you do it? Here are a couple of methods:
Create a vivid picture of how and what success looks like to you.
Ask yourself, what kind of success you want and then make a picture of it. You want to tap into the power of visualization to help you achieve the things you want in life.
For instance, if your goal is to own a BMW or a Mercedes, vividly imagine you owning the car and driving it in your mind.
Like how the basketball players train using visualization, schedule time to do this. Some people choose to practice visualization in the morning after they wake up, some choose to do it at night before you sleep. But those who are truly serious about living their dream will hold the picture of their dreams in their heads all the time.
They think about it, talk about it, dream about it, sleep with it, eat with it, and breath it every single moment.
This is how you can leverage the power of visualization to help you achieve the success you want.
Therefore, create a picture of what you want, and hold the image in your mind as often as possible. More importantly, feel and act as if you are already there.
Make a list of all the success you want.
Another easy method that can help you define your success is to make a list. So what are the things that you want to achieve in life?
- To drive a brand new Audi A7,
- To earn $100,000 each month from my internet business,
- To live in a bungalow with at least 6,000sf land area by the sea,
- To visit The Great Wall of China together with my family,
- To learn to speak Spanish,
List down all your goals. The more specific you are, the better.
Remember, these goals are what make up of your perfect life. These are the things and experiences that you are going to get and enjoy when you are living the successful life you desire.
Thus, make your list right now.
Some of your goals may not happen right away because you may focus and give priority on other goals. But regardless, list down as many targets you think are going to ‘make’ you successful as possible.
The action of writing down your targets and goals helps you understand the success you want in life better.
Make plans to get there.
Once you have identified the success you want to achieve in life, what you need to do next is to make plans to get there.
You can’t proceed with a goal without a plan. I know that a plan may not always work out, but having a plan is much better than having no plan at all.
When you have a plan, you can consciously make decisions and take actions to get the results you want. Instead of being reactive, you become proactive.
It’s sad to see many people have goals, but they don’t have a plan to achieve them.
Your mission now is to come up with a plan. But what if you don’t know what you need to do to achieve your goal? Well then, go figure out.
Learn from others, read books, attend workshops, search on Google, learn from YouTube, ask someone else, etc. Do whatever you can to master the craft.
Never Anchor Your Success and Happiness to Your Goals
It is true that you need to have goals, objectives, and targets, but you should not anchor your success and happiness on them.
In other words, don’t set a condition ONLY to feel successful or happy when you achieve your goal.
You don’t have to wait until you have earned a million dollars only to feel happy. You don’t have to postpone your happiness and wait until you own your dream car only to feel happy.
No, you don’t have to set conditions to feel happy and successful in your life right now.
Having goals in life are important because they show us the direction of where we’re going in life.
Goals are like lighthouses, they point you in the right direction so that you won’t get lost.
At the same time, you don’t want to anchor your success and happiness to them. You can feel successful and happy right now, even when you’re YET to achieve any of your goals.
Instead of thinking you need to achieve only to feel happy, change your mindset and happily achieve.
Ditch this mindset: Achieve goals –> Feel happy
Adopt this mindset: Feel happy –> achieve more goals and produce better success
If you want to understand this concept better, learn the Reverse Gap. Read my previous article here.
Success is a Progress and a One-Time Action
Before we conclude this article, here’s one thing you need to understand – success is a journey, not a destination.
Many people are mistaken and think that success is what happens when they achieve something. For instance, people think that they are successful only when they drive their dream car. They think they are successful only when they accomplished their goals, like building a multi-million dollars business.
The truth is that success is not ‘something’ that happens in an instant. Success is not the moment when you achieve your goal, but rather, success is the journey of getting there.
Let me share with you a clear example I used in my previous article:
Let’s just imagine that you started an internet business and your target is to earn a million dollars from it.
In the first year, things are new and tough for you. You try hard and you work hard, but by the end of the year, you did not make any money at all, instead, you lost $100,000 into your business.
On the second year, you decided to try again and work hard on your business. And toward the end of the second year, you found that you improved a little, but still, you lost $50,000 this year. Again, not making any profit.
You told yourself that you will never give up no matter what and you will do whatever it takes to make your business successful. So for the next 3 years, you work extremely hard. You learn from all your mistakes and you go the extra mile.
Finally, at the end of the fifth year, you made a nice profit of $1 million from your business.
The question now is: Are you successful when you hit the $1 million profit mark by the end of the fifth year?
Most people will answer yes because they have achieved their target of making a million dollar.
But, are you NOT equally successful in the first few years?
Can you skip the first 4 years and go straight into the fifth year to earn the million dollars profit directly?
No, you can’t. You need to go through the first 4 years in order to arrive at the fifth year.
Therefore, success is not a destination, but a journey.
Success is not a one-time thing, but progress.
You don’t become successful when you drive your dream car or earn the amount of money you desire.
You are successful as long as you are making progress and working toward your goals.
Do you get it?
From the example I shared above, you are successful in the first year, the second year, the third year, the fourth year, and the fifth year. As long as you are working on your targets and are making an effort to produce results, you are considered successful.
You can’t skip steps and get to the fifth year straight away. The first few years when you poured in the hard work count too!
My Meaning of Success
So, here’s my meaning of success – you start with a vision, you then turn it into goals, and as long as you work and make progress to achieve your goals, you are considered successful.
- Do you have a clear vision in life?
- Do you have goals?
- And are you working on them?
If your answer is a yes, you are living a successful life.
First, you give a meaning to success by creating a vivid vision. Next, you set them as goals and then you work on them diligently, relentlessly, and you persist until you get there.
And that’s a success, my friend.