Fast cars, expensive clothes, big houses, a high income job, overseas holidays, a diversified share portfolio, a beautiful husband or wife…. when a person attains these they are successful, right? These are all symbols that have come to represent success. Indeed, many devote their life to chasing these ‘things’. Is this wrong?
Let me first say that these are all wonderful things that are worth aspiring to have. But there is a certain approach that ensures there is substance to these symbols. This is an approach that ensures that large house is filled with a loving family, that you do not sacrifice what is really important in life for that high paying job, and that the person wearing those expensive clothes is happy. This is a whole-person approach. This is success from the inside out.
Before I explain this approach further, let me make a comment regarding our modern consumeristic society: material possessions do not guarantee happiness. They are nice to have, and like sugar give us a short-term ‘buzz’, but if we rely on them for our happiness we will eventually be left feeling empty. Only further consumption will solve the problem, and so the circle will continue.
The following are examples of people I have observed who desire the symbols of success but ignore substance:
- The career driven individual who neglects their family or health.
- The middle aged man who ‘trades-in’ his wife for a younger model.
- The individual who becomes trapped in debt due to their need to keep up with the latest style.
- The parent who pushes their child to achieve so that they might bask in their glory.
As you can see, a fixation on being outwardly successful will often have a negative flow on affect into our life or the life of others. What then can be done about this?
The solution begins with a paradigm shift. This is a shift away from viewing nice possessions and other symbols of success as something we desperately want, and rather seeing these as a by-product of being a great person both inside and out.
Importantly, it is the inner greatness that needs to come first. Another way to state this is to say that private victories precede public victories. Think of your privates victories as the foundation upon which you want to build a house. If the foundation is no good, then the house may look good on the outside. Look a bit closer though and you will start to notice the cracks and faults.
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How do we become a great person on the inside? What are these private victories to which I refer? Well, these are questions that this site is devoted to asking and find answers to. I believe the answers can be found via self improvement (otherwise known as personal development). In particular, victories can be made in the following areas:
- Character – contribution, values, integrity, purpose, principles
- Emotional mastery – happiness, love, self-confidence
- Personal Effectiveness – goals, self-discipline, motivation, habits, time management
- Health – diet, exercise, strength, endurance
- Spirituality – belief, religion, consciousness, awareness
Private victories in the above areas will form a solid foundation to then achieve outward success. By this stage, however, outward success will more than likely have taken on a whole new meaning.