I was in fourth grade when my English teacher asked our class to write an essay explaining what success means to us. When I received back my graded essay, I was astonished. The teacher who was almost 35 years old wrote on my graded essay:
Very nicely written! Can I have your autograph, please?
I never expected such a note from my teacher but if I recall what I wrote almost 25+ years back still holds for me.
It was a 500-word essay. Below is a quick highlight of what I wrote at that time.
For me success would be the ability to fulfill below three goals:
- Stay happy all the time without worrying about anything.
- Do things for my family that they can’t due to money or health constraints.
- Become a world-famous musician.
That was a very simple response from me that anyone could think and write. Even today I don’t think there is anything special about this response. The interesting thing about this response is that I understood and defined my definition of success very early. I added two more goals to my list of being successful later on, but these three goals still hold the top spot in my success dictionary.
You may be wondering whether I consider myself successful today. The short answer is – Yes.
Let’s walk through my journey of achieving these three goals and how you can translate them to achieve your goals too.
1. Happiness Goal
My short-term goals kept changing every few years, but my long-term goals always stayed the same. I stay optimistic and happy most of the time.
Here is a question for you.
How many times you felt sad or cried in the last two weeks?
Pause for 60 minutes and write down your answer in the comments section. If you don’t want to disclose it then write it on a piece of paper.
I know we are in the middle of a pandemic and everyone is going through a tough phase. It is okay to be sad or to cry.
When you were in that situation two weeks back, were you getting any of the below thoughts?
Could I have done anything differently to avoid this situation?
Why did this happen?
Why is it happening with me only?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you were not looking at that situation from the right perspective. Instead, you should have been thinking:
What can I do now to fix this situation?
How can I avoid this situation in the future?
Do I know someone who has gone through this situation? If so, how did they handle this?
Did you notice what happened here? You asked the same questions but in a different way. Instead of looking at things from a past perspective, you changed your focus to the future. You are no longer cribbing on why it happened. You are now focusing on how to fix this situation and how to avoid it in the future.
A small shift in perspective can change your entire mindset and make you more positive and happier in life.
This is my mantra of staying happy in life and achieving my first goal.
2. Family Goal
Most of the people (if not everyone) loves their family and would like to do good things for them. I came from a middle-class family and when I was young, I wanted to do things for my family. But I could not do much as I was small and didn’t have a source of income.
I had the desire to give them the life that they wanted. Although they didn’t have big dreams, my goal was to fulfill even the small ones.
They loved traveling so when I grew up, I took them to different places that they dreamt of. I supported and stayed with them when they had health issues.
This goal kept on becoming broader for me. When I was a kid, my family was small, but my family goal expanded with the growth of my family size.
Be careful of one thing while fulfilling this goal. Don’t try to reflect your goals on your family. Sometimes we feel that if we want something badly, then our family would also desire the same thing. This may not be true all the time. For instance, your desire to buy a luxurious car does not necessarily mean that your family would also want that.
You need to understand the true desires of your family. Giving them an expensive watch only because you also love it does not mean that it will make them happy.
So, what is success here? True success here would be to understand what they want and then give it whenever possible. Note the word ‘whenever possible’. That’s the key here.
Don’t go out of your practical capacity if it’s not required. Your mother will not be happy to receive an expensive bag if you had to borrow money for that.
I have been able to do everything in my capacity that would make my family happy, and this is how I achieved my second goal.
Write down 5 things that you know (not think) will make your family happy? How are you planning to do it in the next 5 years?
3. Musician Goal
I always wanted to be a world-famous musician. I am lucky to say that I have tasted fame since my early days. If you never experienced it, then let me tell you that it is a great feeling when strangers come to you and appreciate your talent and work.
For full disclosure, I am not a world-famous musician (yet) but have experienced the taste of fame.
I want to share an interesting story that touched my heart. I performed during one of the fests in our college. About an hour after the show, my friends and I were just hanging out and playing a few random songs.
A person, around 45 years old, approached me and bowed to me to show respect. I was around 18 years old at that time. I was confused and could not understand what was going on. He told me that he loved my voice and asked if I could sing one of his favorite songs. I ended up singing not just one but 10 songs for him. My friends were also enjoying it and we jammed for almost two hours after that.
Forgive me if you think that I am boasting here but the purpose of telling this story is something else. I want to tell you that although my long-term goal is to be a world-famous musician, yet I achieved small successes in life that I can enjoy and feel like a successful person.
I am not sure if I still have the same desire to be a world-famous musician as I had 25+ years back. I have worked in multiple professions (including the music industry), but I feel my reasons to become a famous musician were different at that time.
Music was and is my passion. I wanted to work in a field that I loved. But as I progressed in life, now I am not looking for it as a career. Although my long-term goal of becoming a world-famous musician is still the same, now the reason is different. I don’t want it as a profession but want to share my talent with the world.
It may sound stupid that how will I achieve world fame if I don’t pursue it as a profession. But I guess my desire to achieve this goal is much less at this stage of life than it was 25+ years back.
Few questions I want you to think about and write down in the comments section or on a piece of paper.
What is your career goal?
Why do you want to achieve this goal?
Has it always been your career goal?
Did the reason to achieve this goal change with time?
These were three of my goals when I was in fourth grade. My short-term career goals kept on changing but long term always stayed the same. Achieving these three goals meant success to me.
With time, I added two more goals to my success list. I have not achieved them yet but am on a path to achieve them. And I believe in the next 5 years I will be able to achieve them.
But remember, as we progress in life, we keep on adding new goals. Keep Moving! That is the whole purpose of life. If you have no goal in life, then life becomes meaningless.
You will feel successful when you achieve your goals. If you don’t have any goals in life, how would you feel and taste success?
This is success for me.
Now, let me know what is success for you in the comments section.
I would love to know if you liked my story. Also, let me know if you want to know what my two new success goals are.