Friday, December 11

“Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.” David McCullough (1933 - )

Have you ever stopped to think about how you define success? Is it material gain? The relationships you enjoy? Or perhaps the nature and quality of your work? It is a question worth spending some time on.

When I was leading into the life changes I made last winter and spring, it was a question I asked myself a lot. What is really important to me? What are the things that I actually need to be productive and to pursue what it is I feel I am supposed to be doing with my time? If the model of success that I had been trying to horn myself into, like a foot two sizes too big for a shoe, was the wrong model, what was the right one?

Once you’ve asked the questions, if you’ve found the answers, then anything you do in pursuit of that answer is, technically, you succeeding. I don’t think that the purpose of life is to succeed according to anyone’s definition of success but the one that fits for us as individuals. So if you’re chasing after it then you’re a success already. Or as Bob Dylan once said, “What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

Congratulations. Take this moment to raise your right hand directly in the air, bend it at the elbow so that your hand slides down behind your head, and give yourself a couple quick pats on the back. You’re already doing better than most people.

If you can’t honestly give yourself a pat, then ask yourself why. Ask yourself what crisis or epiphany it is you are waiting for. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come. There’s only today, so get after it.