When speaking on the works of Aristotle, Will Durant famously surmised: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”.
Success is an elusive thing to chase. Many of us feel a pull towards something more – we believe we could be something great or do something incredible if given the chance. My experience, however, is that many of us spend our years searching (occasionally) but never finding. We point to happenstance and claim it was ever in our way or we place the blame on our other life obligations. Perhaps it was our family that kept us from achieving anything? Worse still is when we come to believe the game is rigged and run by the fortune-favored few at the top. As if crushing our happiness were a worthwhile investment.
No, success is not a readily apparent thing in our own lives, but we can always recognize it in others. Have you ever noticed that all of your friends are achieving their dreams? Isn’t it amazing that everyone you know on Facebook is doing so much better than you are? Of course, this is the facade we all play for others, but it’s easy to be deceived when we feel we are the victims.
I think it is a good and worthwhile thing that so many of us are compelled to be greater than we are. I think it is a terrible and unfortunate thing that so few of us find within ourselves the courage to actually try hard enough to succeed.
What success is may mean very different things to the very different people around you. Some people lust after money while others aspire to status. Some would like a well-provisioned savings while others would simply settle for a full belly. I believe that we must each look within to first determine what “winning” would mean. What do you want to achieve? Who would you like to become?
At the root of success, I believe, is the discovery of lasting happiness, contentment, and self-actualization. It’s a controversial observation, but I believe many of us wear the costumes we must to fit into the niche we’ve carved out. If our job requires we look or dress a certain way, than that is what we do. For too many, in my opinion, life becomes a series of tasks to accommodate other people’s expectations without ever considering our own needs nor ever lifting a finger to truly help anyone else. Imagine the things we might finally be free to accomplish without this weight everyday?
As with most things in life, there’s a catch.
It’s impossible for anyone to truly be themselves or realize their dreams if they don’t know and understand the person in the mirror. I suggest that it should be our goal to get to know ourselves. What motivates you? What drives your passion? These are indicators of your true self without the influence of those around you. Perhaps it’s worth a night or two with the television off to finally get a grasp on who you are and what you want in life. Some of the most successful people in the world came from very challenging backgrounds, but perhaps all of the comfort in our lives keeps us from succeeding?
Thank you for your time.