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Sunday, September 20, 2015

What is success?

I see talented people systematically exhausting themselves every day. They spend hours at work and come home too tired to engage in anything else. Sure, the pay (or the promise of it) is good, but is it worth giving up everything else for it?

The definition of success changes with age. It meant getting an 'A' in school. There was an examiner who assigned those grades. In life, who does the scoring? How do we know if we are doing things right? I think the greatest mark of success is your happiness. If you are prone to irritation, anxiety, losing focus and are constantly overwhelmed by deadlines, you are not in a good place.

You should enjoy your work. Spend time with your loved ones. Take occasional breaks. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every day.Have a balanced diet. Get some exercise regularly. And engross yourself in some creative pursuit that rejuvenates you- at least once a week. An extremely linear lifestyle is heading towards a breakdown you can not foresee.Life is a marathon, not a sprint.

It is especially true in start-up cultures where the first few years are crucial. If you are a small business owner, it is a lot like raising a child. Everything else becomes secondary- your health, your friends and family, your sense of balance.

Take a step back, reduce distractions, strive for efficiency. Don't be Sisyphus condemned to roll a stone up a hill in Hades- only to have to start all over again.

Ask yourself- how well are you meeting the four energy needs:
  1. Physical (sustainability),
  2. Emotional (security),
  3. Mental (self-expression), and 
  4. Spiritual (significance).

Visualize a typical day at work. What are the non-essential tactical duties that you need to minimize? Do you start you day by replying to emails or on phone calls and consequently waste the most efficient part of the day in housekeeping tasks that can be done even when you are tired?

When you don't feel appreciated at work, is it because you are NOT an asset to the organization, in spite of the long hours you pull? Self-awareness is the first step to transformation. Don't keep habits that don't serve you well. Have a plan and work on it. This requires a certain degree of openness to yourself and humility. Not the humility that is covertly aimed at winning praise, but the humility that frees you from the need to project an image that makes you stand above others. After all, the greatest freedom we need is the freedom from ourselves.

1 comment:

SOM said...

A different way of looking at Success.
I quite agree with it; at the end of the day if you are happy with your life nothing else matters. You shouldn't judge yourself based on what others think of you, or what your peers define as being successful.