07 Jul How do we know when we are successful?
Having moved no less than 10,541 miles across the world and essentially starting over, I often question whether I have gotten far enough in my life and in my career. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I’d consider moving to Melbourne one of best decisions I’ve ever made, but it does get me thinking. One of my colleagues quite rightly pointed out that conversing with some of the smartest people in technology on a daily basis – from data-science wizards to AI enthusiasts, can also affect the ego with questions of why am *I* not that intelligent/ successful?
The other day, 10,541 miles back in Scotland, I Skype’d my oldest friend Georgia, and she too was experiencing such feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy. This is a woman who was recently nominated as jazz musician of the year for the 2nd year running. Who knows, as folks in our late 20s, maybe there really is such a thing as a quarter-life crisis. Then I spoke with my friend Ash, who has recently launched her own consciousness coaching business, gained over 20,000 followers within the first couple of months, and she too was experiencing exactly the same feelings.
It got me thinking. Surely we should be comparing ourselves to our previous selves in order to measure our success, and not against the success of others? Surely the latter would be an unfair comparison as we all come from different beginnings, are genetically unique and have individual circumstances which all ultimately impact our reality. None of this is taken into account when we compare ourselves with others. I asked myself; if our teenage selves were to see us now, would they be proud of what we had achieved? More often than not, I think the answer would be a big fat yes, or maybe even a hell yes!
As cliche as it is, life *is* about the journey, and success isn’t somewhere we can just get to and then not have to try anymore. Our life goals and desires continually change and adapt as we grow (physically and emotionally) so all we really should do is strap in and enjoy the ride. As Shawn Anchor says in [his TedTalk, if happiness is on the other side of success, your brain never gets there. Our brain works in the *opposite order*. If you can raise someone’s level of positivity in the present, their brain experiences what is called a “happiness advantage”. He explains that our brains in this positive state, perform significantly better than in a negative, neutral or stressed mindset; improving our intelligence, creativity and energy levels by 31%. But how can we achieve a “happiness advantage”?
According to Shawn, with five simple changes:
- Gratitude: At the end of each day, name three things you were grateful for.
- Journaling: Try it on the daily commute. It reminds you of what you have achieved and what your goals are.
- Meditation/ mindfulness: Even doing day to day tasks more consciously, like brushing teeth, or eating a meal with full attention and focus counts as being mindful.
- Random Acts of Kindness: Could be as simple as sending an email to a colleague, thanking them or praising them for something they’ve done.
Sounds simple, right?
What are your thoughts on the pursuit of success?