A measure of success in the first world is different than in the developing world. And I’m certain our developed world scale is wrong.
I came to this conclusion last year while visiting Belize. Belizeans are the friendliest, happiest people I’ve ever met. But by first world standards, they are failing.
Americans, in particular, rate their success by the type of job they have, the income they produce, the cars they drive, the homes they own. You get the picture. But is that really success? Albert Einstein had this to say on the subject,
“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”
An interesting way to view it.
I guarantee that if people think of you positively, it is not because you drive a Lamborghini, own homes around the world and are CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Is it wrong to be a CEO, drive a fine car and have multiple homes? No, but in my opinion you should not measure your success on that scale. My grandmother used to say, “the higher up the ladder you go, the more your rear shows.” In my experience, she wasn’t wrong.
My Measure Of Success
Here’s what I’d like people to say about me if asked. Harry is a great husband, father, grandfather and friend. You can count on him to help and support you, to really listen to you, and to tell you honestly what he thinks. He always does what he says he will do and he does it on time. He is happy with who he is and grateful for the blessings bestowed upon him. He’s not perfect by a longshot but he is working on it.
To me, that’s a better measure of success than income and possessions. I must be Belizean! In Belize, I saw how much family meant to them. I saw their faith, their gratitude and their happiness in the moment. That’s a good way to live, I believe.
How do we get there? Well, one thing I’ve done is cut back on my consumption of media – newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio. If you listen to the media too much, you’ll maintain a distorted view of the truth and of what is truly important in life. Next, I recommend that you try gratitude because there are plenty of things for which to be grateful. Cicero said that gratitude was not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all the others. Start expressing gratitude for what you have rather than pining for what you don’t and you’ll see a dramatic change in your life and level of happiness. If you need some help with gratitude and happiness, pick up my book, Get Glad.
What’s your measure of success?