More often, I am talking to myself that I want to win at life. I don’t want to play not to lose but to win. I want my life to be a success. But how does a successful life look like? And what does it even mean?
If you sit down to think about it, it can get fuzzy. When we dig deeper we stumble upon outside expectations, values (which can also be externally acquired or internal), interests, needs, and hopes and dreams.
Will a big house make me happy? At first thought, I like to have a house or an apartment with enough space. However, when I think further, it would be pretty sad, if I live there alone. Then, I might come to the conclusion that there is a ranking, and that certain things are more important than others. And if I think even further, I might realize that although there is a hierarchy a successful life will be a mix where certain aspects play together and reinforce each other. Like with the example of the house. If I have a wife and kids, then I will also enjoy a larger house/apartment and when I also think about the importance of friends than this would make a bigger house/apartment even more important, because then I could invite everyone.
I could dig even deeper and ask myself why I want a wife and a family. This is based on my values (I got those partially from my parents which I like and accept =) ) and also for my need to have a physical relationship and my wish and interest to teach.
A good rule of thumb is that you should stop digging deeper when you realize you are confused. Looking further is only valuable if the outcome is clarity and action.
Also, what you see as a successful life might be immensely different to what another person thinks. Even and maybe especially within the own family. That might be the reason for some of the arguments within families. They all want the other person to be happy, but can only see what would make them happy. That is why it makes sense to define what success means to you.
There are plenty of tools which can help to structure your thoughts and what constitutes a happy life. One way is to use the wheel of life. It can give you an idea which areas you want to take a look at and, in turn, define what success would look like in each of these areas. I recommend going one step further and also think about how these areas influence each other.
Once you have your definition what a successful life looks like, the hardest part begins. Taking action. Sometimes, you will feel like hitting a wall. Your body tells you, you should do a certain thing, because thinking about it feels good and right, but there are a thousand little voices who sow doubt. That is something that happens to me a lot. I know what I should do, because I came back to the same thought or idea over and over but did nothing. I did nothing because there were those voices of doubt, of uncertainty, of convenience, of outside expectations. I myself can only guess and wonder what lies behind that door. When (not if) I go through it, I will let you know =).
What I know is what is waiting for me on this side of the door. It is a walk into the shadows. It will lead to a life that feels numb and colorless. There will be good times and bad times, but it is a life of “what if’s”. It will be a life where hedonism rules my actions, because that is the main source how I will come close to happiness. Bottom line, not a nice vision. And still it is difficult to change. I know. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. But that is again only the voice which speaks out of fear and convenience. Be quiet voice! And lead me to that door again!