The pursuit of success (And how to find it)

The pursuit of success (And how to find it)

Success, one of the hardest words to define.

Everyone has their own views on what constitutes as success. Whether it be defined by making a difference to those around you, being financially successful or being happy.

The truth probably lies somewhere between all of those definitions, and for better or worse, the world in which we live in often firmly associates the word success with financial success. But if there is one thing we can all agree on, the pursuit of success (however we define it) is not an easy one.

When it comes to financial success, many people often ‘see the roses but miss the thorns’.

Because of that, it is often thought of as the ‘be all and end all’, the ultimate sign of a life led correctly.

The media often sets its focus on the brightly coloured ‘rewards’ of financial success, rather than the sleepless nights, loneliness, alienation, stress and sometimes crushing responsibility that comes from putting yourself well and truly out of your comfort zone every day whilst building an empire.

I have found that people also often think in absolutes. “She is successful” or “He made it” are statements often aimed at those who have achieved financially. But money, like everything else, is fluid. It comes and it goes. Sometimes there is so much it can be overwhelming and people can lose themselves whilst crushed under its weight. Other times, it’s scarce and it’s time to “stoke the fire and sit tight for the winter”.

Even the most successful go through seasons when it comes to how financially comfortable they are. Of course, all but the very worst storms are not advertised. Unless catastrophically damaging, you often don’t hear about the worries and struggles, but the successes and triumphs are gladly shared.

This paints a one sided picture of financial success.

Of course, all of this can seem like first world problems. Sure it can be stressful running a successful company and wondering how to grow from six to seven figures a month, but it’s hardly as scary as wondering where your next meal will come from..

But, the price can still be high.

I have lost some of my closest friends due to envy or resentment, spent years of my life locked away from the world, and through the years I have had to fight self doubt, stress and insomnia.

And ultimately, money for moneys sake is empty.

So even when you reach your goal, you realise that on its own, it means nothing, and of course, another goal is always right ahead of you, just out of reach and always on the horizon.

It can become easy to rush ahead, constantly chasing the mirage in the distance rather than stopping and taking a look around and appreciating where we are and the journey we are on.

Life is beautiful but short. If we waste it staring at financial statements, charts and computer screens, we will find that in the end, all the money in the world
cannot buy the memories we miss creating whilst doing those things.

So when we examine both sides of the ‘success coin’ we realise that financial success alone certainly does not define or guarantee what most would consider a successful life.

Success is many things, and means different things to different people. But if we can agree that financial success alone is not the defining ingredient, what are the key principles to a life led successfully?

Whilst your own definition may differ (and I invite you to share yours) I will leave you with what I believe are the 5 key ingredients to a successful life.

  • Treat others how you wish to be treated.
    The lives of people around you should be genuinely better for having you in it. Do for others without expecting anything in return and always be as honourable and as kind a human being as you can. This in my view, is a vital ingredient.
  • Make enough to secure both your and your loved ones futures, and  give you options. 
    If you make this one of your ‘Why’s’ it keeps you focused through the tough times and again, positively impacts other peoples lives. Secondly, having options means you have a choice, and those choices can give you time you can spend where you want, with who you want, when you want. And that’s priceless.
  • Create something that matters and makes a difference.
    I believe as humans we are put here to create and make a mark on the world. We should strive to create something beautiful and something that makes others lives better. Whether that be a great product, a charitable foundation or children who grow into adults that will serve the next generation well, creating something that matters can be our biggest achievement.
  • Live, love and laugh.
    Embrace experiences, love fully without fear and enjoy the moment completely. If you try to control every second or spend too much time worrying about the future or contemplating the past, you can miss right now. Living in the moment is the only way to really experience and enjoy life. It can be hard to do and it means letting go of fears and the past, but without being able to fully appreciate the now, can we ever say we are really successful?
  • Grow every day.
  • We should always strive to be better. Better at what we do and as a human being. This means stepping outside of your comfort zone and being (sometimes brutally) honest with yourself. Whether you are learning to increase your knowledge or to be more confident, growing as a human is vital in life. If we avoid the things we don’t like about ourselves or just resign ourselves to the fact that “it’s how I am” then we won’t grow. Nothing is set in stone about who you are. You can shape yourself and evolve every single day.
Josh Bartlett is a serial entrepreneur and product launch strategist who owns businesses that specialise in both marketing and software development. He is a sought after business coach, life coach and public speaker.

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