It is has been often stated that a person is judged successful if they are either one or more of the following:
a) Good looking
Being good looking is something we have little control over. We also know that when we get to know a person, outward beauty may be only skin deep. Inner beauty, or the lack of it, should be what defines the person.
Wealth may be inherited or it may be of a person's own making. If a person is wise with his/her wealth then we can say they are successful in business, in their investment choices or wise in their spending.
Receiving excellent grades could indicate that a person was genetically fortunate or that by hard work and dedication reached their goals. How many people have we known that have found study a cakewalk without the hard work and we 'hate' that about them?
Being a great athlete is certainly something to be admired. You can't simply be gifted. You have to put in the hard grind of becoming ultimately fit along with having the capability of being a quick thinker within the game/sport.
I have to say that, unfortunately, all of the attributes above in some way indicate success in our society. But, are these people fundamentally happy? Happiness not guaranteed. Could they be relying on their abilities or activities to make them so? Possibly.
Could happiness in itself be an indicator of success? I think so. When we are happy within ourselves we feel peace and contentment. Confidence comes when we know we have done our best, but that doesn't mean we are always the winner or the best. Happiness, contentment and resulting satisfaction come from doing our best and enjoying the rest, not being pretentious or hiding behind innate or genetic gifts to prove our worth.
Should we try to be the very best we can be? Should we try hard to reach our potential? Absolutely! But, when it comes down to it we cannot afford to rely on looks, wealth, intelligence and athleticism to be our only measure of success. All these things can be taken away from us in an instant or over time. The true person is who we are when all these props have gone.
What really stands the test of time are our inner qualities - integrity, loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness, respectfulness, forgiveness, obedience and charity. When others see the joy and peace these attributes bring to us they may well redefine their definition of success. It doesn't have to rely on prowess, or being gifted. Anyone can be successful with the right mindset.
Long lasting 'success' is a legacy that can be passed down through the generations and we, the parents, can initiate and maintain that within our families.
Written by Sally Burgess
Forefront Families LLC