From My Bookshelf – Day 44

Personal success comes from within and is achieved when you are able not only to be yourself, but also to love yourself. It is feeling confident, happy, and powerful in the process of doing what you want to do. Personal success involves not just achieving goals, but feeling grateful and satisfied with what you have after you get it. Without personal success, no matter who you are or how much you have, it will never be enough to make you happy. 

Personal success is achieved when you feel really good about yourself and your past, present, and future.

To achieve personal success, we must first recognize the futility of making material success our highest priority. What good is it to achieve a goal and then feel it is not enough? What good is it to get what you have always wanted and then not want it anymore? What good is it to have millions of dollars and then look in the mirror and feel unlovable? What good is it to sing your song and have others love it, but hate it inside? To find true and lasting happiness, we must make a small but very significant shift in our thinking. We must make achieving personal success and not material success our number one priority. 

Material success can only make you happy if you are already happy.

John Gray — How to Get What You Want and Want What You Have (pp. 19-21)

One of the downfalls to growing up in a materialistic society is all the messages we receive that suggest our happiness is tied to our possessions. We assume if we don’t have the latest and greatest gadget, the newest vehicle, or the largest bank account then we can’t possibly be happy. We naively buy into the concept that our possessions make us who we are.

I have experienced a tug of war for years between personal success and material success. Just when I think I have the material-success-monster mastered, I discover a new area of my life still tied to material success. As I get older, however, I have learned my personal success means more to me with each passing day. Material success is elusive and fickle, but personal success is something I have control over.

I have been continuously applying myself to achieve personal success—personal success according to my standards.  In order to do that, I have had to discover what my own standards of personal success look like. You see, I have spent most of my life endlessly trying to live up to other’s versions of personal success to no avail. My happiness didn’t truly come home to stay until I finally decided I would make the rules for my own life. I am responsible for my happiness; and the only way I have found to continuously achieve it is to focus on learning and growing. If I’m not learning and growing then my happiness suffers.

Some that know me well—and know aspects about my past that are less-than-glamorous—may wonder how I can be happy all the time considering all the mistakes I have made. For me, that’s an easy one: the mistakes I have made in the past have brought me to where I am now, and where I am now is exactly where I’m supposed to be. To me, reality is king. And reality is wherever I find myself in the moment. When I can accept my reality exactly as it is, then my happiness is always by my side. Conversely, when I fight reality, my happiness mysteriously disappears.

How do I determine my personal success now? It’s certainly not in the car I drive, the possessions I amass, the fluctuating amount in my 401k, or the success of my children’s sports teams. Instead, I determine my personal success by the years I have spent applying myself to learning and growing. I am reminded of my personal success when a professor gives me glowing reviews about my schoolwork. Even without the glowing reviews, I truly feel good about my past, present, and future.

No matter what is going on in my life that may distract me from my personal success, it doesn’t take me long to remember what truly makes me happy. I get right back to applying myself to learning and growing.

That’s what is true for me, I wonder what might be true for you and your own personal success?

Have a blessed day.

Peace and Love,

~Travis

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