“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” – Earl Nightingale
I like this definition. Want to know why? Because it says nothing about money.
I’m tired of hearing definitions of success that are tied up with the idea of making money.
I’m tired of people defining success without directly including the idea of making money, but insinuating it.
Because it’s shaming, and shame is one of the most destructive, toxic forces out there. It says that if I’m not making more and more money, then I’m not worthy, not a success. That’s nonsense.
Money Doesn’t Last
John Thunderwolf, one of my mentors, said it best, during a men’s weekend I attended many years ago: “We’ve got to stop living as if we’re never going to die.”
When we include money in our definition of success, we risk living as if we’re never going to die. We can’t take it with us, so let’s not over-focus on it, if it’s to the exclusion of what’s really important.
Success, and the definition thereof, needs to focus on the important things in life. Friends, family, helping others, personal growth and development, these sorts of things. Money can aid in these areas, and – if it’s kept in its proper perspective – it can be a real force for good!
Too often, however, I see money becoming an end in itself. And that’s not good.
We Were Meant to Work
I don’t apologize for saying this: we, as humans, were meant to work.
You know that I preach the gospel of taking time for ourselves, and resting from work. Some of us work too hard, and don’t get enough down time! But that doesn’t take away from the fact that times of rest are just an interlude. An interlude to work.
We humans need to have a purpose. If we don’t, we wither away, if not physically, then mentally, emotionally or spiritually. The concept of retirement is not one that I understand. Not that we shouldn’t stop “working” to earn money at some point (if we can), but we need to be doing something useful still, even when we’re not working.
Volunteering, for example, at a food bank.
Visiting lonely retirees in a retirement home (where, incidentally, they have days full of activities to keep them busy). Yes, we were meant to be busy.
Success is About Reaching a Goal, NOT About Getting Rich
Earl Nightingale had it right. Speaking about his definition of success, Bob Proctor said it best, that whether or not someone sets out to earn a million dollars OR run a marathon, both are successful IF they are engaging in the “progressive realization of a worthy ideal.”
Some of us were simply not created with a desire to become rich. Some were. Both are ok. What needs to happen is that the ones who were not created with such a desire need to stop beating themselves up for not being more “motivated.” That happens quite a bit.
I see people running from one get-rich-quick scheme to another, trying to make a fast buck. Why? Because they’re listening to others who are telling them that’s what success is about. Then, when they don’t “succeed” in that particular arena, often they get down on themselves, and feel ashamed that they’re “not where they ‘should’ be” at a particular stage in life.
Stop “shoulding” on yourself, if that’s you. Do what you were meant to do, and do it well. Work hard at it. Be productive. But don’t shame yourself because it’s not getting you “rich.” All work is valuable, and is necessary.
You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, at this moment in time.
You only need to be asking yourself one question: “What’s the ‘worthy ideal’ that I’m working towards?”
If you don’t have one, it’s then – and only then – that you’re setting yourself up to not be successful.
So get one, make a plan, and start working towards it.
Success is Available to Everyone
By Nightingale’s definition, we can all be successful individuals.
I like to help people. To me that comes before making money. So far, in my life, the Universe has always provided what I needed when I dedicate myself to assisting others.
A piece of spiritual literature that I like to read says it best: “He (God, Universe, whatever works for you) provided what we needed, if we stayed close to Him and performed His work well.”
That’s my ideal. I think it’s a pretty worthy one, and so I’m going to go with it. What I need will come to me, as long as I dedicate myself to doing what I’m supposed to do.
Are you feeling shame because you look at your friends on Facebook, and find that how you feel on the inside doesn’t match what you see on their outsides?
Don’t judge a book by its cover. You have no idea what’s really going on inside them, and what battles they’re currently facing.
Be the best you that you can be, and let that be enough. Because it is enough. You are enough. You are a success, just the way you are.