IT’S THE SMALL THINGS
It is with no surprise that on the first week of the year, my social media feed was filled with photos – all, if not most, with an accompanying caption that had to do with resolutions and goals for the coming year. Indeed, the new year is one of those occasions when we tend to be more reflective than others – perhaps by tradition, and then, of course, there is that much sought-after down-time when we have the leisure of reminiscing and thinking through the year that has been. It is a hopeful time for most that we can make the days to come better and brighter, and that energy is rather encouraging. Indeed, we all have room for growth, and as humans, it is what we aspire for. Whether it be growing a business, a family, personal growth, or simply, working on bettering health through lifestyle, we set goals for ourselves and have benchmarks for success. But what exactly does success mean to you? Is there really a right or wrong definition?
When I searched the definition of success on Google, the first hit read “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” A definition, which brings me back to my initial question: What exactly defines success? It is one of those words and concepts I suppose that though is defined quite literally, its underlying meaning is rather abstract. In other words, it is subjective and heavily dependent on how we as individuals measure and perceive it.
Some people see success to be measured solely by material wealth and return of investment. How an individual or a conglomerate grows a company, and how this is passed on generation after generation. Perhaps, that is the most concrete and unrefuted measure. Others choose to measure it through power – whether one is the head of a company or the head of state – and that too is success that is oftentimes unquestioned. Prestige and recognition to others is just as important, as is fame and popularity. Success is most definitely also someone who has made something out of him/herself. But are these the only indicators of success, I ask you? I most certainly asked myself.
When I think about who I consider to be the most successful people in my books, while all, if not most of them can fit into those cookie-cut template definitions above, a lot of them are more than that. I realized that while most of them can be and are recognized as universally successful, a handful of them are also so much more than that. I realize that what draws me to them more than anything is character based. For instance, those who have remained grounded and exude humility amidst all the recognition. Those who choose to shun the limelight and instead, focus it on others. Those who have made a name for themselves and/or have upheld the legacy of their predecessors by choosing to continuously evolve with the times, and who have done so by helping others along the way. Generosity to me, as well as kindness, compassion, and empathy are big components of my view of success. Integrity and honesty must not be compromised for someone to be successful in my books. In short, I guess I am not one who is entirely infatuated by wealth or prestige, but rather, by how one chooses to treat another, and how one uses his/her influence to make a marked, long and lasting positive change in society.
Then it got me thinking – if character weighed heavier on ones’ view of success, then perhaps the world would be a kinder place – one where people are motivated and encouraged to thrive. If we choose to celebrate small successes rather than judge or look down on them, people would exhibit a more positive disposition despite whatever circumstance may come their way. These are small tidbits of change we can choose to include and exemplify in our daily lives, which we oftentimes take for granted. Do not ever underestimate the extent of happiness and eternal gratitude a small act of kindness and compassion can bring about. Compounded together, it accumulates to eventual success. At least in my opinion. Now, let me ask you… What is success to you?