What is success?

All of us grow up domesticated by society and those closest to us. As don Miguel Ruiz quotes in his book, The Four Agreements, “The process of domestication you learn that you need to be a certain way in order to be accepted.” I was raised that success = happiness. My greatest influence in my life has been my Dad. It has been him and I since I was eight years old; he’s my mentor, my rock, and my best friend. He has always pushed me to be my best self; to him, this meant being a well astounded athlete. By the time I was sixteen I was pitching for the 18U Gold San Jose Lady Sharks, received a full ride scholarship to Boston University and many other prestigious schools in the United States. I can remember in High School my Dad using materialistic things to reward me for my hard work and success in tournaments. For example, I remember the season before my sixteenth birthday my Dad told me if I did well, I would get my dream car, a black Lexus IS 300 (which I got). Following that, I would get an allowance and gas money as long as I continued to play softball, pitched 30 minutes a day, five of the seven days a week, and performed at his standards. If I failed to do this, I was required to immediately get a job. Moral of the story, the harder I worked the more things I would get.

As I got older, I quit playing softball. I became a personal trainer at the age of 19 where my image of success transformed to one where success = financial success. The women around me drove Audis and Mercedes, carried Louis Vuitton purses, and paid to look aesthetically perfect. I looked up to these women, they seemed so successful. It appeared as though they were living the life: gorgeous, traveling, spending, happy. I began to follow in their footsteps, judging my life on what I had. I bought the purse, the car, and lived the fast life. All I found was disappointment, lies, and sadness. I realized that money is not what makes people happy. I began burning myself out; I couldn’t keep up. Yes, money gives you freedom, but money more importantly does not give you happiness.        

For most of my life, I had believed that happiness was the result of success; that “If I work as hard as I can and become successful, then I will be happy.” I read a blog recently written by Christian Chasmer called, “Success Doesn’t Lead to Happiness. Here’s why.” It really stuck with me because similar to Chasmer, in his early career, I too based my definition of success off of financial stability. Chasmer states that this false belief only adds pressure, stress, and negativity to all aspects of our lives.

Through my own experience, I have found that taking away the pressure of what is expected of me by society and not working day after day in attempt to meet that ultimate gratification, but rather live to find the gratification in each day. By living in the moment and taking the time to do the things that make me happy has naturally lead to more success in all aspects of life. “Happiness is a journey, not a destination,” (Christian Chasmer).

Comment below what your definition of success is.

Photo Credit: https://tengil1ismyname.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/happiness-and-success/

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