3 Steps to Avoiding “False Success”
“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”
This classic Bible reference leads us to a discussion of what truly constitutes success.
It is our definitions that decide what we can accomplish in this world.
Ask yourself: “Is it true that, without knowing what the word ‘success’ means to me, I will never be able to know whether or not I have it?”
The first step of true success is knowing what success means. “Success” to the starving man in the Congo looks very different from the “Success” of the struggling actor/waiter in LA, which also looks quite different from the “Success” of the five year old trying to convince his parents he’s not a child anymore.
But the discussion of how to find your “Success” is better left for another day, I want to give you a framework for using once you have started to hone in on your true purpose, to avoid one of the most painful experiences possible in life:
The definition: when we get everything we thought we ever wanted, and feel hollow inside. When “Success” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and we end up feeling worse than we did before.
Here are three tools I’ve discovered for avoiding False Success
1) Your Success MUST be your own. Much of the False Success in the world is the result of people fulfilling goals forced on them by parents, friends, colleagues, teachers or lovers.
2) Your Success MUST be good for others. False Success is common when it comes at the expense of others. You may think you can live with the guilt of all those you stepped on in getting to the top, but at the end of the day you will sleep more soundly at night knowing your Success is truly helping people.
3) Your Success MUST have an extension to the future. Ah, my favorite point. This is where I have experienced False Success most painfully. There’s a story that when the first astronauts returned from the moon, they faced massive depression and psychological problems. The loss of the goal had shattered them, even though they’d achieved it. Astronauts now are immediately given new projects of great import as soon as they return, so they have a new idea to focus on. You must have a plan ready for the ‘next step’ after you achieve, and always move it a little further away.
Join me in a future post to work through your definition of Success, and remember, when you think you have it, to make sure it is true to YOU, that it HELPS others, and that it GOES ON after you’ve achieved it.
Think there are more types of False Success? Let me know in the commends