Most people agree that both success and self actualization are important. We all tend to put our own spin on the definition of a successful life. Whether we prioritize money, physical accomplishments, art, or even answering deep and thorny philosophical questions (but isn't the answer 42?).
Even if definitions of success vary, a common thread seems to emerge and this is my take; this is what I call the power method, where each letter stands for one of the following words:
- Widen Horizons
- Enjoy life
- Redefine limits
How do you know you got there if you don't know where you are going? How do you know you have achieved success if you have not defined what you want to get out of life? Part of it involves setting goals in an iterative process, refining them as you go along and reevaluating which one moves to the top and which one is no longer relevant. However, that is only the first step and the most important part is following through… putting the efforts needed and persisting as long as it takes to get things done.
No matter how hard you work, you only have 168 hours per week. If you remove the time you sleep, your commute time, taking care of basic needs, a huge chunk of that disappears. This is why it is important to optimize your life. This includes:
- Optimizing your time - As they say, time is money. Planning and tracking time spent will make sure you use that resource wisely and if there is a way to work smart, save time, make use of it.
- Optimize your space - For a long time, I was convinced that even in a mess, there could be a method to the madness... that is until I actually tried organizing myself. Making sure you don’t waste hours looking for things, making sure you are comfortable will go a long way to equip you with tools for success
- Optimize your mind - Though some will say this is not really optimization, I disagree. Come to peace with major events in your life, clear your head, sort all issues out. Only then can you focus on success, move on and shine.
- A great way to foster success is to be a lifelong learner. By learning, you keep your mind sharp, you open yourself to new opportunities and you get ahead of the crowd
- Though they say curiosity killed the cat, without curiosity we would not have any inventor, our world would cease advancing and very few people would push the limits. For success, it is vital to try new things, experiment, think out of the box
- Keep an open mind - stereotypes and pre-made ideas limit one's view of the world. By keeping an open mind, it will make it easier to react when an opportunity comes up, it will prevent bigotry and open many different horizons while bringing positivity
- Listen - Though it is important to know what you want and be confident in your beliefs, it is very important to listen to others as well
The importance of enjoying life seems so obvious. Yet, many people tend to overlook it when they look at the steps to success
- It boosts self esteem which in turn helps people want to attempt more fun/interesting challenges. It helps them persist when the going gets tough and get passed short term obstacles while keeping in mind longer term objectives.
- Many health related issues are related to stress and mood. By having fun, you are improving your health and improving your energy.
- By enjoying life, your mind is clearer, you can focus more and in the end are able to achieve more
- People who enjoy life are more likable and more people will want to help them when an obstacle comes up
Limits are made to be redefined and in order to succeed, you have to innovate, be a trend setter, have a positive impact and improve things behind you. For me, this involves:
- over deliver - if you do that long enough, you will stick out of the crowd and naturally attract success
- work smart - sometimes, to over deliver, you don't necessarily have to work harder (though to be fair, many times you do)
- work out of your comfort zone - As they say, the "magic happens outside of your comfort zone."
This is my definition of success, I am curious to hear what other people think.