Being Successful

As strange as it might seem, success, one of the most popular concepts in our modern world, is the most difficult thing to understand for many people. Maybe that would be the main reason for not getting it at all? Maybe because the core definition of success is so foggy we have a hard time identifying a successful outcome? What is success to you? What is the final touch that defines a successful lifestyle?

If you started to wonder even for a split of a second about the answer to that question, I bet you have difficulties in enjoying your life. I know I did. I struggled for years with the socially generated concepts of success and tried a lot of paths in order to achieve those – sometimes even opposed – states of success.

Social pressure

It literally took me years to understand the core meaning of success. It’s difficult to understand that because most of the definitions are socially generated and every one of them implies some artificial link between you and the others. In order to be successful you have to be acknowledged by somebody else. You need proof and most of the times you need somebody else to tell you that you are a successful human being.

That’s strange. That’s the wrong way, you know, to be told you are successful, to need external validation processes. Being successful should be something that comes the other way around: from within. The modern society put such a tremendous pressure on being popular. Success is often defined by the number of people that have heard about you. Being known is enough of a success for many people, even if this popularity has no generated value associated with it.

Even if you do something that is totally in accord with your inner values, you have to correspond to a set of standardized principles in order to achieve success. In modern society, money and recognition are amongst the most important success definitions. You might be a complete and fulfilled person, yet if you don’t have tons of money or you’re not quite a popular figure, you’re not going to be accepted as a successful person.

Building success

Trying to work with ready made definition of success, without first understanding what those definitions mean to you, as a person, is like building a house from a broken foundation. You might know from your heart how to build your house, but you’ll be forced to start building on a broken foundation. Your dream house might be built as you wish, but it will fall apart sooner or later, because of the broken foundation.

So, from this broken foundation, every step toward success will be a painful and difficult step in order to achieve something that you don’t even know. You’ll find yourself fighting to achieve money even if you have enough for your needs, or you’ll start to make compromises in order to be acclaimed as a popular person. In fact, you’ll start to get out of sync with what you need. You’ll start doing things you don’t even understand. You’ll start to feel bad about what you’re doing.

And the most important thing is that, once “successful”, you’ll experiment a complete and unbearable feeling of emptiness and frustration. You have something that you didn’t even want in the first place. And what you really wanted is not there anymore, leaving you empty and sad.

Success from within

All of this because you resisted your inner being. You succumbed to ready made success principles, without understanding the most important part: what YOU really want. What makes YOU happy. What YOU can offer in an unique and fulfilling way…


Everything starts to lighten when you’re doing things you like. Those things will most likely not be giving you millions of dollars. Hmm, I just realized that’s not a rule, by the way. They might give you as well millions of dollars, it’s just not a rule that you’ll actually need millions of dollars in order to express yourself to your full potential. 

If those things are totally and honestly filling your existence, they will lead you to success anyway. Every thing you like to do is a solid foundation. Every thing that feels good to be done is a guarantee that you’ll make yourself happy, sometime. Every thing that you do without effort is a promise of undoubtable success.

The real joy of life always comes from within. The real need for success always come froms you to the others, not the other way around. Whenever you need too much proof that what you’re doing is correct, you’re going away form your own navigation tools, setting course on somebody else’s path. You’ll crash, sooner or later.

Getting used to success

Being successful is not a question of how to get there, but how to get used to it. For me that’s the most important discovery about success. Most of the people resist to success because they don’t know what to do once they get there.  And they even don’t know they are there. I actually met hundreds of successful people that didn’t even realize that they lived a successful life.

There is a powerful social conditioning that postulates that success is difficult. So people obey to this and stay in difficult situations, waiting for their success to bloom. But it doesn’t. Because they’re on the wrong definition of success. And that definition can’t possibly be correct for everyone, mathematically speaking. Having a limited set of principles defining success is just not working for everybody. 

Every human being is different and every one has an internal mission that will make his life bloom. And they’re here to do this with all their power and skills. They’re here to be in a larger and more powerful flow of other people with their own different skills and expectations. They’re here to be happy, and success is just one of the subtle flashing lights that is making them aware of that…

Success is a state of well being. An equilibrium in motion. A personal choice. It is not a social label. Is not a widely accepted set of criteria, that, once met, turn you into a successful human being. 

You are successful when being successful is not a stress anymore. When you are outside that difficult path, socially induced. When you feel right about what you’re doing and when you’re doing everything right. 

It might be making money, or it might be traveling the world. It might be doing business, corporate style, or it might be teaching others about being happy.

Success is happiness acknowledged.

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29 Responses to Being Successful

  • Mate,

    Few years ago, it was an interesting article that kind of grab my attention and I thought I share here,,,,
    Back in the 1980′s a woman named Dr. Ellen Langer did a study for Harvard Medical School.
    Dr. Langer took a group of people who were over a 90 years old and put them in a controlled environment that reminded them of when they were in their 20′s.
    For example…
    * Langer played radio shows like Little Orphan Annie, popular then
    * The carpet in the test setting was the long, shag carpet that was common 70 years before
    * They stuffed the refrigerator (or “icebox”) with long-discontinued labeled foods
    * And covered tables with Life magazines from that long-lost decade.
    Thus, every anchor around them, every auditory, kinesthetic, and visual sensor reminded the test subjects of when they were healthy, 20 year olds.
    Can you guess what happened?
    When Dr. Langer and her team performed physical examinations on these very old people, they were astounded to discover that their eyesight had improved, their skin elasticity tightened, their finger strength and muscle dexterity had
    grown stronger and more flexible, and their bone density had thickened.
    Did you get that one?
    Their BONES got thicker!
    The scientific explanation for this is that the pattern of old age and infirmity had been consistently interrupted with vibrant sensory reminders of being in their 20′s.
    This caused their growth hormones to rise, mirroring and matching the state they were in when they were in their 20′s.
    Or to put it simply…
    They got younger by reminding themselves of when they were young.
    Now, we are not 90.
    So what does this have to do with us?
    Everything.
    We are shaped by that to which we expose ourselves.
    Feedback either nourishes you or depletes you.
    This goes for your feelings of self-worth, your courage, and your success in life.
    Pay attention:
    You can actually design cues in your environment that will reinforce the feelings you felt and the magnetic state you embodied at a time when you felt powerful, confident and successful.
    Doing this will COMPEL you — unconsciously — to be at your best,,,, ALL THE TIME.
    It’s a matter of choice how to accomplish this?
    How to “program” yourself for success?
    l

  • Fantastic comment Io_da, thank you, thank you :-)

  • [...] The first and the most difficult thing to do about that, is to accept the simple fact that they can exist. It’s difficult because you link success to popularity, and popularity means recognition from an increasing number of people. Every negative opinion will feel like a decrease in popularity and you’ll be incline to take it as a lack of success. In fact, negative opinions about you have nothing to do with your success, because you should have your own definition about being successful.  [...]

  • Dragos, this was a very insightful article. Successful people are people who are doing and getting what they want – period. I define success as enjoying the journey of life. In no way is the destination the essence of being human. It is the growth and the journey. If Donald Trump makes a billion dollars he is not satisfied. I truly believe he doesn’t care about the billion dollars. Donald Trump does it for the thrill of the ride. That’s why people who do something they hate to get money aren’t happy – usually anyway. It wasn’t about the money, it was about the journey. Keep up the great work. I LOVE your blog.

    Stephen – Rat Race Trap’s last blog post..7 Things About Me – I’ve Been Tagged

  • @Stephen – The Rat Race Trap: totally agree and I love the man you bring in as an example, Donald Trump that is. This guy made a lot and lost a lot. He stretched himself so far that is no surprise he’s renting a portion of our brain dedicated to success. He did so much to achieve it that we actually “sold” some “success related neurons” in our mind to him, picking the guy as a metaphor of success :-) And even if he’s only got that at the end of the day I still think it’s fantastic.

  • “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
    Herman Cain

    “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”
    Mark Twain quote

    “Victory becomes, to some degree, a state of mind. Knowing ourselves superior to the anxieties, troubles, and worries which obsess us, we are superior to them.”
    Basil King

    Jonathan | EnlightenYourDay.com’s last blog post..Meditative Thought Blog: E.Y.D a year in review

  • Dragos, the most pulling section for me is “Success from within.” That’s where it all starts and for many, that can be the biggest challenge to overcome. Limiting beliefs hidden in the subconscious need to be identified and replaced to feel truly successful on the inside. Great post.

    Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills’s last blog post..Has your Analytical Mind Taken Over Your Life?

  • I think is success is how you feel within and how you use it in your life.

    I agree above it is a state of mind that if used correctly can have that rippling effect over others you meet or are in your daily life.
    Success is knowing your self and being happy with your life. It is not $$ or not having $$.It is being happy and brightening peoples lives somehow.

    BunnygotBlog’s last blog post..Helen Keller

  • Jonathan | EnlightenYourDay.com: thanks for the quotes, they’re wonderful :-)

  • Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills: you’re so right about those unconscious vibrations. We may have the conscious drive and desire to become successful but until we bring in the unconscious vibrations, aligning them with our conscious choice, we can’t really do something about it.

  • @Agent_Luke thanks for the comment and glad to “nail” something for you :-)

  • @BunnygotBlog couldn’t agree more with that: “It is being happy and brightening peoples lives somehow.”. Thanks for the comment :-)

  • I love people. Meeting people is a great experience for me.I always seem to bring something away from it.
    You are good people!

    BunnygotBlog’s last blog post..Helen Keller

  • Very insightful article Dragos. The inner challenge of understanding success is definitely true, it’s a challenge to know what drives that feeling and satisfaction we would label as success.

    To me, success though is not tied to happiness that much. I think they are related but can’t define each other. Success to me is “Consistently living with purpose”. This purpose is the hard part. For some that is happiness, some its helping others, some it may be adventure, some may be a mission or quest in their faith with God. Not always will those things bring happiness, but they very well may be the person’s life purpose. If that is what is lived, then success is there along side it. We’re all here for a reason, our purpose being lived is what brings true success.

    Mike King’s last blog post..Book Review: The Brain That Changes Itself

  • Master Po, you have lead me once again back to the path. I bow to your wisdom.

    I’m only being a little sarcastic, here. You have this gift for bringing it all back down to the fundamentals. I really appreciate that.

    All the best,

    – Daniel

    Daniel Brenton’s last blog post..Gratitude Watch – 2009-04-17

  • [...] designed in such a way that it will support acquisition or a form of control. Every definition of success is based on a number of possessions. Almost every form of value creation is based on a form of [...]

  • [...] The first and the most difficult thing to do about that, is to accept the simple fact that they can exist. It’s difficult because you link success to popularity, and popularity means recognition from an increasing number of people. Every negative opinion will feel like a decrease in popularity and you’ll be incline to take it as a lack of success. In fact, negative opinions about you have nothing to do with your success, because you should have your own definition about being successful. [...]

  • [...] ways, not 100, as I promised in the title. I lied. And I also did something that always helped me being successful: under promise and over [...]

  • [...] ways, not 100, as I promised in the title. I lied. And I also did something that always helped me being successful: under promise and over [...]

  • [...] really don’t see any reason whatsoever you shouldn’t be proud of what you did. If you’re successful, let the world know. Being shy will not help you here. You’re acting on a field so crowded with [...]

  • [...] available to you and will fuel your efforts towards its achievement. And of course, you can learn how to be successful [...]

  • [...] available to you and will fuel your efforts towards its achievement. And of course, you can learn how to be successful [...]

  • [...] but the general conclusion was wrong, in my opinion. Delayed gratification has little to do with becoming successful. Delayed gratification is a mild form of asceticism: let’s deprive ourselves from some really [...]

  • [...] really don’t see any reason whatsoever you shouldn’t be proud of what you did. If you’re successful, let the world know. Being shy will not help you here. You’re acting on a field so crowded with [...]

  • [...] available to you and will fuel your efforts towards its achievement. And of course, you can learn how to be successful [...]

  • [...] really don’t see any reason whatsoever you shouldn’t be proud of what you did. If you’re successful, let the world know. Being shy will not help you here. You’re acting on a field so crowded with [...]

  • [...] in my class. Even my teachers were aware about my apparent passivity and they “blamed” my success on my natural skills: a fantastic memory, they said. I was a good kid in school because I was [...]

  • [...] successful, let the world know. Being shy will not help you here. You’re acting on a field so crowded with information that even your own identity is difficult to persist, if you don’t actively work at it. Just because your clients know your name that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re perceived as an expert in your niche. [...]

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