• Susan Pattis

What Does Success in Life Mean to You? (Part II)



Last week, I met an old gentleman who gave me a different perspective on success in life. He is a friend’s grandfather who is sick and deteriorating. He didn’t look like he had much time left. I struck up a conversation with him and asked him how he was doing, and his answer made me stop and think for a few seconds. He said, “I’m amazing! I’ve hit my personal best of the number of days of being alive.” Here this guy was, nearing the end of life, yet he still tried to view every day positively and was just thankful for each new day.


Can you imagine if we all viewed life this way before getting sick? What if we started appreciating life now and realized how lucky we are for each day? Instead of fearing death, what if we utilized that thought to live our best lives? What if we allow it to become our most fantastic teacher? What if we thought about it so much that it was no longer morbid and instead it taught us how to live life so that we have a legacy that continues once we are gone?


There’s no stopping it. Death comes for everyone, and we don’t know when it will happen. We are born with nothing, and we leave with nothing. So how do you leave something behind that will continue to live with legendary memories? “I measure my success by the number of people who wish me a happy birthday each year and regularly send me a special message,” the old gentleman said with confidence and a smile. “Because when someone reaches out, remembers your birthday, and takes the time to send you a personalized message, you know you’ve impacted their life somehow. It is an affirmation that I’ve impacted someone’s life, which is the best gift for me,” the gentleman continued with his understanding of success.


At the end of my life, I want to have impacted and to have served as many people as possible. We value success more when it comes after failure. We enjoy success more based on our hard work and best efforts. If success comes quickly and easily, with minimal action, it is less success and more luck. Success can bring extreme joy, followed by tears of happiness. You should not consider it a success if it does not bring you satisfaction.


The standards I set may not convince you of success. But then, as I said earlier, success is relative; there is no single criteria suiting everyone. Many people get motivated but not tasting success. Failure compels them to strive more, to do more complex work. Success makes people dull sometimes, though sometimes it motivates them to take the next step on the ladder of success.


A famous talk show host told me “I don’t know why but I’ve had a strange habit since childhood that whenever I am expecting some big result, I think more about the failure of not achieving that top result and about what I would or should do in that situation”. Success is no doubt important, but failures are generally the steppingstones for achieving success. Each failure is a success in itself. It teaches you something.


In today’s society, most people consider money as success. No matter how you see success, it eventually ends with money. We all see success the same way. If you have a promising career, accumulated enormous wealth, and are insanely famous, you are successful. That’s how it is, that’s how everyone thinks, and that’s what we have learned as the meaning of success since childhood. But actually, success does not mean money, nor does it mean fame, power, social status, achievements, or your net worth; how can it be? It’s all temporary, and so are the perks and privileges it offers. Money is just a resource that you need in order to fulfill your needs in your daily life. Money can give you a lavish lifestyle, every kind of pleasure or lust available, comfort, good food, but it can’t buy happiness, loyalty, trust, friends, nor family. You are successful if you are happy.


To Be Continued.