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When you hear the word “success”, what usually comes to mind?  To most people, it is a beautiful house, a stylish car, the ability to go out for expensive dinners, and a well-established career all the trappings of a ‘beautiful family’. Success is often associated with money and other earthly possessions. However, even if you have all, or most, of this you can still feel they haven’t achieved success.  So what can success be?

How much you’ve learned.

Success is not about how your original plan has worked or whether things are going “as expected”. It is about learning and the knowledge, wisdom and experiences you have had.  Maybe the reason why we call leaders successful is that they are often the people who have the experience and expertise in their field. Successful people prioritise learning and education, they work hard to understand and master their craft. By constantly increasing their knowledge base, they become more capable of addressing problems as they arise and coping with changes. So the next time you want to evaluate your progress, your success, focus on how much you have learned. Then ask yourself – What do you know that you didn’t before? What do you still need to find out? What can you teach others that you have learned, and so learn from them also.

How many times you have failed.

All successful people know that it doesn’t come easy, and that they are bound to fail more than they will succeed. Failures promote success in many ways, mainly by creating opportunities for learning. When you fail, ask yourself – why?  To answer this, go back some steps you have taken to try achieving your goal and determine what went wrong, as this is where new solutions come from.  When we make mistakes, we may find it upsetting or unsettling, and blame ourselves, which creates a mind-set of thinking that we’re mediocre. By taking failure as a negative, we miss the main purpose of failing: the chance to get over our egos, learn by giving ourselves feedback and coming back stronger and smarter.

How happy you are.

You may have all the money in this world but that doesn’t mean you are also the happiest person. Research states that money doesn’t buy happiness, and whilst successful people understand while money is important, it is not the real measure of their success. It has been found that happiness doesn’t necessarily follow success, in fact, it’s just the opposite – happiness leads to success.  Experts say that happy people tend to be successful because they frequently experience positive moods; these positive moods prompt them to be motivated to work toward new goals and build new resources, and can overcome negativity and failure.  This doesn’t mean that happy people are always successful. Part of success involves experiencing painful emotions in response to difficult and painful life circumstances, and it is how we react to these difficulties that can make us resilient. Success is not about our accomplishments, it is about how much we have learned, and how we reuse that learning in our lives

 (Adapted from an article by Amy Taylor 2014)

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