Are you successful?

jacket picMost people want to be successful, but what is success? For many, it is about the things they own, their personal status, or how much money they make.

The Definition of Success

Some measure success as if it should follow an upward path, and improve with each passing year. They see it as perhaps being in the right place financially for their age, or at least having the right title. They feel they should be at a certain level of affluence by a certain point in their lives. Others do not give much credence to the path, but rather see success as equated with assets.

How high on the ladder do you need to climb, or how much do you need to own to consider yourself a success?

We say that you don’t need to climb any ladder, and you don’t need to own a thing. The above definitions of success are flawed. Society has conditioned us to follow our egoic longings and so we continue to want more. When we are in the process of pursuing the American Dream, we do have some satisfaction, but a sense of dissatisfaction often emerges.

Success is Happiness

Instead of thinking about what it will take for you to be successful, think about this: When asked what people really want, they generally say they just want to be happy. They think that society’s definition of success will make them happy, but what they really want is to experience joy as much as possible. Make sense?

So success is feeling joy most of the time. While perhaps easier to attain than something outside of yourself, it does take some practice. To be happy, we have to train ourselves to think differently.

How to be Happy  

We have to unlearn some of society’s programming. But to do this, we only have to do two things. One, we must be grateful each day for what we do have, including the people in our lives.  Two, we must connect with our higher selves so that we become comfortable in that inner space and experience who we really are.  When we are satisfied with our choices, are appreciative of all we have, and are in touch with our true selves, we will move toward happiness and create a very successful life.


As Thanksgiving approaches, and we are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, let’s look at what we are grateful for. Has Sandy created an atmosphere of camaraderie and giving? Do you now cherish the things you took for granted? What are those things that are precious to you? Hold on to these thoughts, record them in a journal, and the thanks you give on Thursday will be bathed in authenticity.

If you have read Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance or have seen her interviewed on Oprah’s show some time ago, then you know what a gratitude journal is. In fact, Oprah suggested that her audience create one. How do you do it? Write down five things you are grateful for each day. It could be something as simple as the aroma of coffee or something as heartfelt as a visit from a friend you lost touch with years ago. Just purchase a blank journal that appeals to you or if you prefer, there is actually an iPhone app for that called Gratitude Journal. Then, start writing!

Finally, we like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote on the subject: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”