Defining Success

Living a successful life is not dependent on the financial wealth you create. You can transform each day of your life into a success story by rewiring your brain, thinking beyond profits, and living here now.

The quintessential definition of success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” or what most of us have heard: “the attainment of popularity or profit.” But is success really defined by purpose or profit?

After graduating from high school, my family advised me to aim to build a successful career. My options were narrowed down to becoming a doctor or choosing a field in engineering. So I graduated with a chemical engineering degree. I was advised to aim for graduate studies, and in less than two years, I had a highly specialized degree in plastics engineering from one of the most reputable university in the U.S. Then began a cycle to become successful in what I did professionally. Find a corporate job, perform well in the organization, climb up the ladder, and make a bigger paycheck with every new title. My proud parents told my story to the rest of the family and friends as a “success” story.

No matter which part of the world we live in, we all have our own versions of our success story. Our families take pride in telling the world how successful we are in our profession, and often the only measure of that success becomes the financial wealth we accumulate.  In a world where everything is reflected by numbers—the likes on Facebook, the number of views on YouTube, etc.—every aspect of our life is being taken over by numbers. We are conditioned to believe that the stronger your financial standing, the higher you rank on the success chart. But remember the words, “aim” or “purpose,” in the definition of success. Altruistic figures such as Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., also lived successful lives but had selfless concern in the well-being of others. While the rest of the world focused on accumulating wealth, they focused on giving, doing, and creating for everyone else.

Wealth alone is and never will be the measure of success. To live a successful life with or without abundant wealth requires us to transform. In order to create transformation, you need to build techniques or strategies that are unique to you. I use three methods to create success in my everyday life.

  1. Rewire your brain to create a new you. The hard-wired thought processes that we have lived with all our lives and get so comfortable with, take time and effort to change. In layman terms, we refer to these as “habits.” Changing the habits of a lifetime takes work. Whether it is your habit of eating, drinking, or thinking you would like to change, you need to create and implement specific strategies to replace them with new ones. One common factor that impedes changing old habits is fear. When I decided to leave my first job and move to New Jersey for another opportunity that was financially more rewarding, I feared being in a new environment with new coworkers. For the first few months, I feared not meeting expectations. Taking the new job opportunity was my conscious decision, so I had to work on changing the way I was thinking to overcome the fear of failure. I implemented strategies such as observing and listening to others, which helped me perform better.   
  2. Think beyond profits to create success in every day of your life. If you choose to create wealth through your profession, thinking beyond profits can lead you to create an abundance of wealth. The word, “profits,” refers to any way of making financial gains, such as your salary or income from a job, business, or any other trade. If you view your job only as a means of creating a paycheck to survive, then that is all you will create. But if you focus on creating excellence in the work you do, you are opening doors for that pay raise, bonus, or promotion you desire.  Every promotion or pay raise I ever received in my professional career was not because of my deep desire to obtain a better title or higher pay; instead, it was based on the excellence I created in the experience our customers had with the organization. One way to think beyond profits is to become action-oriented and focus on the quality of the results you create.
  3. Live here now, independent of the past you lived and the future you will live. Know that the moment you are experiencing now is the only tangible you have to create everything you desire in the future. Once you start being mindful of everything you are doing in the now or everything that is happening around you in the now, you are not entangled in the regrets of the past and the anticipation of future outcomes anymore. If your boss gives you a task to achieve under a strict deadline, being fully present while performing the task will not only help you complete the task in a timely manner but drive you to ask questions, clear any doubts, and produce a higher-quality result.   

Living a successful life is not dependent on the financial wealth you create. The story of your relationships or your profession does not have be in Success magazine to be labeled successful. You can transform each day of your life into a success story by rewiring your brain, thinking beyond profits, and living here now.    

Kit Gupta is a director at IE Sigma, a nonprofit dedicated to life transformation coaching. He coaches individuals, institutions, and organization around the globe through iexcel events. His teachings are focused on pragmatic strategies to rewire the brain, think beyond profits, and live here now. He uses various scientific and management tools to transform lives. For more information, visit iesigma.com

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