What actually is success?
Recently my father, who lives in Croatia visited me in Madrid, Spain where I’ve lived for the past two years, completed my Master’s degree and found inner peace following the madness & adrenaline from my job, which took over my life… Literally!
Moving to a place where I didn’t know a single person was terrifying, even more so leaving my comfort zone coloured with success and a beautiful lifestyle was an enormous step for me. Not only because I left behind everything I had built, but because I did something that most people would never do. I put my ego to sleep and forced myself to sink or swim, to learn and understand who I am and where I want to go. Although this sounds like a simple task, it was the biggest opportunity that life has given me. I think as people, one of our biggest fears is being a lone wolf against the world, not knowing who you are.
During this time of self reflection and discover I experienced many moments of frustration. However through this journey I focused on building my own ‘spiritual muscle’ to give me the inner strength to fight my ego whenever it would rear it’s ugly head. Throughout this period I learnt to remove the fears and doubts I had about myself. That claustrophobic feeling of self doubt and temptation by my ego was gone. I learnt to have faith in myself, which has provided me another opportunity, to face all situations in my life without seeking the good opinion of others.
This whole experience caused me to think about success and what it really means, which brings me back to my dad’s visit!
Choosing to spend quality time with him made my soul vibrate on a completely different level, which made me think about the world we live in today.
What is more fulfilling? A) Going back to your family roots and spending quality time with the people you love and that love you. Or B) Receiving social approval from others online to feel accepted and ‘famous’? Now this may seem like an obvious answer, although I have found the underlying reasons to many of our decisions are based around the good opinion of others.
We can never compare who had a better time, or what makes someone more complete. Everyone is different and perceives moments & experiences differently, and accepting that is a big challenge in itself. I personally believe the final destination of our journey through life, that drives us in different directions to overcome challenges should be the pursuit of inner peace and personal acceptance.
Running away from yourself, or pretending to be someone else will never give you a sense of completion. Pretending you are something or someone else will cause you nothing but stress and emotional pain, which will result in an even further distance between you and your true potential and success.
Every day we are bombarded with selfies, the latest online trends, the glamorous life of the rich and famous, and the list goes on and on. Being surrounded by this constant noise and consumption of this 21st century online drug, where the most important part of the day revolves around the notifications from our social applications. This is what is actually filling the emptiness we have inside and enforcing that need for social validation. People have become slaves to their phones. The less people spend real time together makes me wonder how people would spend their time without the Internet. Would they focus on their on personal success and growth, or find another avenue of social approval and distraction?
Through my career I’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities that are very proud of their accomplishments, and I admit I’ve found their success and energy to be extremely impressive and inspiring. However digging deeper, I’ve realised that all the things that “normal” people take for granted, like having a strong family bond, real friendships and relationships are what most of these “successful” people strive to have.
For me, going back to my roots and discovering my values and finding faith in myself has built a foundation of success. Having experienced a lot of fake environments and people throughout my career, it’s made me appreciate where I came from, and what I’ve learned from my small hometown where there are no traffic lights in Korčula, Croatia.
It’s taken a lot of work to distinguish a work/private time balance. I’ve felt so drained in certain situations that only with strong spiritual training and embracing the simple values surrounding my career gives me the inner strength and peace to continue forward.
I totally agree that obtaining success in your professional life is an extremely satisfying feeling. However being able to become a person doesn’t let the success change them and get to their head, but instead get to their heart is a very successful trait and success in itself.
So why do people feel less successful if they share it online, or fit into the world’s trends and standards?
Why do people feel less successful if they live in a village and not a penthouse apartment?
They shouldn’t. They should be proud for being different and feel successful for who they are.
I believe the following.
Success is having a strong family bond.
Success is knowing your own values and respecting them.
Success is having a big heart.
Success is being able to feel happiness without needing social approval.
Success is having empathy to help someone in need.
Success is being able to say what you feel.
Success is being able to not let your ego get in the way.
This is my definition of success.
P.S. I would love to hear what your definition of success is or if you have any inspiring quotes. Please post them in the comment section below.