What is Success in ONE WORD?

Just a few days back, a close friend posed a question to a group of us girlfriends and it went like this : “Describe what SUCCESS means to you in one word”. It seemed that was the same question her husband asked their teenage and tween sons. One described it as “Happiness” and the other as “Pain”. Hmmm……quite an answer coming from each of them, don’t you think?

Why “Happiness”? Because one feels happy when successfully achieved something. Why “Pain” is because, one has to go through so much pain to finally achieve success. The former focused on the end result, sweet success whilst the latter thought of the long uphill journey and experience to achieving success. There is no right or wrong answers here.

Success is very subjective. It is up to a person to define it. It greatly depends on one’s expectation in life. Success can be a simple task to some, whilst it can be a mega size task to others….depending on what you really want out of your life.

Then, it was our turn to answer…and it came out like this; commitment, sacrifice, happiness. We had great laughs talking about it and trying to stress our points. When we got back home, we asked our children the same question, wondering what would their thoughts be. Answers received were, attitude, expensive….Finally, another good friend summarised the whole thing by saying that, in the eyes of most children, Success has got to do with the journey to a desired
destination whilst to most adults it is the final result, what we want to achieve and feel at the end.

I thought of it as an end result….Happiness. To me, it is not easy to achieve pure joy and whole hearted happiness. It is not impossible. People may have all the wealth in this world yet still feeling unhappy or even lonely; people who think they are happy but deep down they know that they are not and still searching for that mysterious something. Having insatiable needs lead one to unhappiness. Feeling unfulfilled makes one keep chasing after the ideal happiness in an ideal environment.

I have needs and wants just like you. I usually know when I can let go and when I have to persist to work towards achieving what I need or want. If I don’t, one way or another, my husband or children would “remind” me, through words or mere subtle action. I feel contented even though sometimes I didn’t get what I wanted or the way I wanted it. This contentment comes about when I focused on the journey I had experienced. It may be a slight disappointment but I felt that I had achieved another milestone through undertaking the task. It’s the invaluable experience that made the difference.

Success does not apply to material wealth alone. It can be referring to good health, can be who you are when you are with your loved ones and others around you. How you treat yourself, your loved ones, the society and other living beings. A new friend, a young guy, from Singapore said, Success means “Family” to him. Family? He further explained that it means togetherness, family love and harmony. Growing up, he didn’t get the luxury of feeling that way and hope that he could achieve them in adult life.

Other friends chipped in….Success means Joy, Opportunity, Lifestyle, Freedom, Dream, being able to help other succeed. Imagine just one simple word could bring so many meanings to many people.

What does Success mean to you? Have you already achieve it and living in it? If have succeeded, what are you going to do next? I observed that even though one has achieved the first success, he/she would launch towards another milestone or target, if you like. Successful people will not stop at one success episode. They will keep going forward and most if not all, someway, would touch others’ lives whom they come into contact with along the way.

As one mentioned to me, Success is the ability to do what one likes or enjoy, and to help others succeed. These are people whom I highly respect for they are neither selfish nor arrogant but find joy in seeing others join the Success Club. They willingly become mentors to those who are focused on what they want in life but still struggling to climb the uphill of success. They would show the way and guide accordingly. They would share their mistakes, discoveries and experience so that the road to success for the following persons would become shorter and slightly easier.

To all successful people in their own right, Kudos to you! Spread your wings and fly high. While at that, remember to bring your loved ones with you. They have gone through the long journey with you, not totally bed of roses, and remain as loyal companions. Spread your love around. Share your experience with others, be a mentor. Bring new meanings into people’s lives. Success is sweeter and more meaningful when it is shared.

Cheers to you!

~ Alice N.