To many, success is obvious. It's a life that includes a nice car, fine home, impressive job, and attractive spouse. Yet, people with all of these things aren't any happier than those with less impressive lives. It's because all of those achievements only serve to impress others. They do little to enhance the quality of your life. Those with large homes still spend 80% of their time in just a couple of rooms. A $20,000 car provides just as reliable transportation as an $80,000 car. Even the most attractive people can become tiresome after a short period of time.
Success in the western world is too focused on showing off to your friends, family, and neighbors. It doesn't focus on what will make you happy. You can't find happiness by trying to impress others. You only show yourself that your own interests aren't important.
Redefine success with your own definition:
1. What is your passion? If you can determine the central focus of your life, everything else becomes much easier to determine. Do you want to write a great novel? Focus the next 25 years on creating and raising a family? Explore the world? Explore yourself?
2. Career. What do you like to do? Most people consider money first, but what would you like to spend eight hours per day doing for 40+ years? Of course, you'll need to make enough money to pay your bills and pursue your passion.
* Let's assume that your passion is writing. Your career choice should support your interest in writing. That means your income is sufficient to be fully engaged in your writing activities. You might even consider a career related to writing, such as an editor.
3. Home. Your choice of living accommodations can also support your passion or be an obstacle. A home that is too big can require too much of your time to maintain or require too many financial resources relative to your income. You might also have to hire staff or a housekeeping service to help. Managing those people is a drain on your time and focus.
* Do you need to live in the city, country, or suburbs to support what you truly desire? How many bedrooms would be ideal?
4. How much free time do you want to have? This isn't just free time to pursue your passion, it's also free time to enjoy other things in life, such as your family, friends, hobbies, or attending the ballet. A successful life would include enough free time to satisfy all of your interests. Your choice of career is a big part of this.
* Limiting your non-essential activities is also necessary to create the free time you desire. Avoid joining clubs, committees, and other voluntary activities that don't add sufficient quality to your life.
5. Consider the end of your life. Imagine you only have a few months to live. What would you like to look back upon? Think about the kind of life you'd have to live to feel good at the end of it. Your time is limited, so make the most of it.
Truly, a successful life is one that allows you to accomplish or experience those things you consider to be most important. Those accomplishments won't be the same for everyone. Avoid allowing society to determine the definition of success. Decide what is most important to you and then create a life that supports those things. Pursuing society's definition of success will result in confusion, resentment, and disenchantment. Be brave enough to find your own path.