This crisp time of year feels like a time of renewal for everyone—not quite like New Year’s with the pressure of resolutions and unlike summer filled with ambitions of chasing the sun. Fall promises the success of the year ahead—and if success is your destination, then surely you could find it on the GPS. But, wouldn’t you need the address?
A person’s measure of success often, unwittingly, can define one’s relationship to where he or she stands in the world. The question then becomes how are we measuring success? What are we teaching our children about the values that define success?
While the material measure of success is often the first that comes to mind, there are multiple ways of looking at success. Often success is thought of in a cause-and-effect format. When I get X, I’ll be Y (satisfied, grateful, happy). Research shows that when we feel success as an inner state of being, we are more apt to cause an effect instead.
The Nobel Peace Prize–winning philosopher Albert Schweitzer, known for his views on reverence for life, has said, “Success is not the key to happiness, but happiness
the key to success.”
If mindfulness is the practice of keeping your mind in the present moment without distraction, then the mindfulness of success would be to find the beauty of the moment that is now, even in the midst of toil and effort, to create the feeling you are ultimately seeking. You are going after that feeling anyway, so why not feel it now?
Studies show that emotions are the number one thing that call people to action. It’s a person’s actions that lead them to their outcome.
When the feeling you are trying to attain is attached to a thing, you will always need another thing to create success. While you may find happiness for a moment, it won’t last as you continue to crave more and constantly feel less. Conversely, when you habitually get ahead of the event with feelings such as gratitude and joy, you have a destination keyed in to your brain that fires neurons and creates a chemical reaction that your body accepts as success.
Studies show that our body and brain don’t know the difference between our inner world and reality. What this means is that thoughts can create chemical reactions in the brain that keep us addicted to patterns and feelings, both happy and unhappy.
Our thoughts are what fuel our behavior. Experts tend to agree that how we behave in the world evokes a certain chain reaction that can make or break our lives.
Experiments have indeed proven that our thoughts can create the reality we seek. That’s not to say this phenomenon can occur without genuine effort being made on the part of the dreamer, but just imagine that feeling of all your dreams coming true. Really imagine it, now. Close your eyes and feel it. Think how different your life could be if you felt that way all the time. How could this feeling, in turn, motivate your actions?
Most parents, instinctively, try to encourage only positive thoughts and self-image in their children regardless of the outcome of their endeavors. We try to send them into spelling bees and championship games with the confidence of their self-worth based on their efforts.
While this may not always translate into a win on the field or on the test, the goal is to create that sense of worth that will take them much further in life than just the one soccer game.
Success in the long run is not a top-down concept. The actress doesn’t start out with the Emmy and take it along on her auditions to show to the agents and producers she is meeting. She is fueled by that feeling she gets every time she sees the vision that is seared in her brain of standing on the stage giving her acceptance speech, Emmy in hand.
Before you work toward your next success in life, ask yourself how you will feel when you achieve your goal. The answer is the address of your success.