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A simple success question - by TimC

During the past 500 years there have been at least one hundred thousand books published on some aspect of success, wealth, and happiness.  Now, tell me if you think that in your lifetime you can read a mere ten percent of them (that’s about 10,000 books).  I know I can’t, and I read over one hundred books per year.  So, what’s a person to do if they want to be happier or more successful? Which books should you spend your valuable time reading? Which ideas are worth your time to evaluate, consider, or act upon?

I wish someone during the past few hundred years would have taken the time and had the intelligence and patience to distill the core concepts and ideas from just a small fraction of these thousands of books. We would then have a summary of the world’s greatest ideas from the most prominent and insightful thinkers over the past several thousand years.  I was thinking exactly this as we moved from 2005 into 2006.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not the above person.  I don’t have the time, insight, education, experience or wisdom to determine what is worthy of your time to read and consider. 

During the past thirty years I have taken the time to reflect upon what the great thinkers and philosophers have said or written that I felt was important for me to live a full, positive and productive life.  I have accumulated dozens of binders filled with their insight and words of wisdom.

Success is not about what you or I accomplish, own, achieve, or how you spend your time.  If you are wealthy – congratulations.  If you are poor, it does not mean that you are unsuccessful.  Yes, if you have wealth, you have more opportunities in life and have a lifestyle some may consider better.  I would caution, however, that not every financially successful person is happy.  I would also add that it is not necessary to have wealth to be considered a success.  Success is not about what you have but who you are and who you are becoming. 

Whether you are a teacher, parent or the president of a multinational conglomerate, success is about the ability to use what you have achieved toward the benefit of others or mankind.  Happiness, like success, is not about what you own or want to own.  It is about learning to live in harmony and peace with your fellow man whether he/she is your spouse, friend, fellow employee or neighbor.  Happiness is inner peace and comfort with the realization that I may want more, but if I don’t obtain it, I can and will be happy with where I am, what I am achieving or where I am headed.

You may take issue with either or both of the previous definitions.  I have lived my life with a simple philosophy:  You don’t have the right to define my own success or happiness, and I don’t have the right to define them for you.  The simple question I would ask is - Is your current definition or philosophy  of happiness or success giving you the peace, satisfaction, contentment and results that you want or feel you deserve?

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