Most of us have been conditioned to define success in narrow terms.  Too frequently we judge our own success, and the success of others, by what is accomplished at work.  Successful people are described as those who have a “good job,” “make good money,” or have “reached the top” in their field.  From early childhood on many people are taught to equate success with pay increases and promotions.  Too often, unfortunately, people who try to achieve these career goals are forced to give up everything else that gives purpose and meaning to their lives.  Actor Ralph Fiennes has stated, “I call people successful not because they have money or their business is doing well but because, as human beings, they have a fully developed sense of being alive and engaged in a lifetime task of collaboration with other human beings—their mothers and fathers, their family, their friends, their loved ones, the friends who are dying, the friends who are being born.”  The traditional success model defined success almost exclusively in terms of work life.  The model emphasized working long hours, reaching work-related goals, and meeting standards often set by others.  In the life of such a person, everything that has meaning seems to be connected to the job.  When a person defines himself or herself by a job and then loses that job, what does that person have left?  This model is a major obstacle for advancement and career transitions.  A person can have the opportunity from manager to district supervisor, and turn the offer down because of fear of change.  In some cases, refusing a transition is a better move.  For example, in the summer of 2008, with nearly 4 years of experience as a security officer, I was offered an opportunity to become a field manager.  Although field managers get better pay and benefits, it comes with a price.  If I had accepted the offer, I would have no social life whatsoever.  There are many times where field managers are required to work at least 12 hour days for weeks at a time, and there is very little organization in management of the company I work for.   Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles gave the following advice:  “If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life.  This includes the level of your achievements, the results you produce, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health and physical fitness, your income, your debts, your feelings—everything!

Many people who once viewed success in terms of wealth, material possessions, and status are realizing that something is missing from their lives.  They do not feel successful.  They once felt pressured to “have it all” but now feel disappointed that their achievements have not brought them real happiness. People who focus primarily on “feel-good” happiness discover that this source of satisfaction rarely lasts more than a few hours.  It is “value-based” happiness that gives life meaning over the long run.  Many people are determinedly seeking spiritual and moral anchors in their lives and in their work.  People who live in uncertain times seem to attach more importance to spirituality.

Life is precious and fleeting; live in the moment, and simplify your days to make time for what really matters.  A simple life is a truly successful life.