How do you define success? Success is a relative term, in my opinion. For some people, it’s a set amount of money in their savings account. For others, it’s a car of their dreams. For some, it’s a healthy, happy family.
I feel successful because my life experiences and my natural ability to learn from them molded me into a better person. By “better person” I mean one who follows certain values and uses each interaction as a step forward: to understand and respect instead of judge, to create instead of destroy, to uplift instead of bring down, to share instead of take away. I gauge my success by the way I handle repeating situations. For example, if a year ago I would lose my nerve while having a disagreement and say what comes to mind, can I this time, try to understand the basis for an attack, what drives it, and with that in mind, take the appropriate amount of time to solve it?
Life experiences allowed me to learn about myself, challenge my thoughts and beliefs; they gave me many shots to redeem myself if it didn’t work out the first, the second, or the third time. I concluded that I love people, and even though there can be plenty of reasons not to, that kind of mentality would serve no justice for the good ones who have been and still are in my life.
I don’t think people ever stop growing. Success doesn’t happen overnight, either. What we see on the surface or fresh at the printer may not exactly lay out all the effort and input that went into the process. So, that said, here are my inputs for success that I would like to share with you:
Moving and Traveling:
Although these were for the most part, out of my control, I think they were the first pieces of the puzzle that made me humble and adaptive. This is not to say that moving and traveling didn’t cause mental shocks, but at a young age I didn’t think so much about it. Instead, I took one step at a time in a new environment and became receptive to help from others. Sometimes, vulnerability is the best step towards personal growth and meaningful connections.
I’m very thankful for growing up without a computer. I also didn’t have TV during childhood and instead of watching movies, I read books. The love for reading still follows me today. My morning routine includes The Wall Street Journal, and DealBook from New York Times. Another must in my life is Dale Carnegie, particularly his “How to Make Friends and Influence People,” and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.”
To be well-read and informed, in my opinion, is key for any successful conversation with people from different walks of life and tax brackets. Want to sound intelligent and be interesting at upscale dinner parties? Read and know what’s going on in the world. Formulate an opinion.
If you can’t afford to subscribe to newspapers, go on their websites, click on article links, copy and paste the titles into Google search and you will read the articles for free. I choose the topics I am most interested in.
It took me a long time to learn that routine is a good thing. I used to think it’s something that makes a person boring. To put it simply, let’s remember that our body becomes fit with a special routine and consistent diet and exercise. Same goes for our mental state. I think of it like a train in motion – any deviation and derailment can set a person behind.
Waking up early in the morning to read the news for 1 – 1 1/2 hours gives me the knowledge boost for the day to keep me relevant, and writing out a to-do list provides me with comfort and concrete things to look forward to, instead of worrying about what and when I need to accomplish something.
If you are like me, and dislike the idea of routine, try to incorporate one easy daily habit. It will set precedence for others. As the quote goes, being truly noble at life is the ability to master the little steps.
Choosing My Surroundings:
I am a faithful believer in the idea that I choose what I have. I also think that success is a product of positivity and requires these positive foundations to sustain it. Therefore, I choose with what and whom I surround myself. That includes people, news, entertainment, food, activities. After a long struggle with body health (I was an emotional eater) and chronic anxiety I began taking certain steps towards improvement. But it first required a change in the state of mind.
For example, health-wise, I came to the conclusion that proper, personalized diet isn’t restriction – it’s a healing process. It’s self-respect. It’s self-knowledge and understanding how my body responds to inputs. I thought about and analyzed my anxiety and ways to counter it. Yoga and fitness are tools that allow me to fix any emotional breakdowns and help me become stronger and more energetic. With these weapons in my arsenal, I can take over any task I set my mind on.
I began choosing the people I spend my time with. I grew zero tolerance to ones who I felt had a negative influence on me. But I also learned that people who hate, judge and are just overall unhappy – usually are dealing with lots of pressing issues. Sometimes, lending them a hand through a difficult period, just by listening and asking questions to help them compartmentalize their thoughts and next steps, opened up avenues for me to learn patience and wisdom.