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Success and other illusions. - by TimC

What is success for you?

Even more importantly, when will you know you have achieved it?

These are two critical questions, that we must have reasonable insight into as we move toward our destiny in life.

As I have traveled around the world for the past 20 years giving speeches and seminars on a variety of topics for my clients I have noticed a very intriguing philosophy that many people use as their benchmark for success.

Most people in life see their success as grounded in some future event, relationship or set of circumstances or the past, with all its achievement and history.

Future dreams and desires and/or past accomplishments.
Future plans and/or past accolades.
Future projects and/or past gains.
Future relationships and/or past lessons learned.

I too have been guilty, at many times in my life of deluding myself that I had arrived or would soon arrive at some mystical  point or place in the future.  I saw success as an unknown or vague uncertainty depending on the whims of management decisions, corporate outcomes, relationship activities and/or the persistent yet relentless passage of time. I moved through life's mistakes, failures and opportunities, pulled into life's hopes, dreams and fantasies toward new horizons.

My activities in the present, for example writing this article, always had to have some specific connection to some "outcome".  These future frozen moments in time represented the timeline of my life.  A series of wins and losses registered on the calendar of the universe.

Three vital questions that  people continually ask themselves is, what is my Destiny in life?  How will I achieve it and when will I know if I am on the right road?

Success is not in your future.  It is not an accumulation of past accomplishments.  People smarter me have been defining success for centuries. If you didn't like one persons definition there was always another that you could use as your guiding philosophy through life.

Success for many is an illusive transitory process, leaving behind empty memories, void of their purpose and value when lived.  

For these people success is in the eye of the beholder.  It depends on other's acceptance, recognition and praise. They are in a race to prove their value and worth to the world.

Even though I used many of these outside in definitions for years as my platform for success, I was often left with the haunting feeling that there was still something missing in my life. It was only in the past few years that I began to think rather than memorize.  

Success is to me not the illusion of fleeting daily successful activities, decisions and/or projects but the ability to relish the joy, the sense of gratitude and opportunity to be able to live "inside out" rather than "outside in".   

Success is the process of living well now and producing whatever results whether in relationships or careers, will contribute to your "now life".  Whatever you are doing now, from improving your backhand to the development of a new business strategy, from learning to dance to giving a sales presentation to your best prospect, from listening to your spouse to playing with your child.

All of these are moments in time that can never be recaptured or  sent into the future.  Yes there is a connection to what your relationship will be like with your spouse depending on whether you spent the time with him or her now.  Yes there is a connection to the success of your business strategy and other areas of your future  life.  But, if your focus is on that future only, and not where you are now, I guarantee you will never live with peace, harmony and self acceptance.  Your future tennis matches, business outcomes, future relationships will all steal from your now feelings of success.  

I am not an advocate for not understanding the connection between today's activities and tomorrows outcomes.  Don't get me wrong. But I am an advocate for success now.  

No one can guarantee that they will be here to enjoy the fruits of their present labor in the future.  No one can guarantee that they will have the opportunity to utilize their improved backhand. No one can guarantee that they will have the opportunity to "be there" when their child grows up.

Success is an acceptance of who you are and who you are becoming.  It is the moment by moment direction that you are traveling.  

It is unfortunate that many people mortgage their present for a future that they cannot guarantee they will ever enjoy let alone get to.

How are you measuring your success?

That answer will depend entirely on how you define success.

For you is it a tangible asset, a secure retirement,  a positive cash flow, a trophy or prize, a promotion, career stability, being settled in life etc etc.

For me success is a peaceful co-existence with the flow of life.  It is learning to resist less and accept more.  It is the ability to share my life and its lessons with integrity to those who cross my path.

Am I there yet?  No.  Will I ever get there, I doubt it. Am I working toward that awareness and insight? Yes.  Each new day, each new moment is an opportunity to practice success in the present.  I am not concerned wit5h my future.  Curious would be a better word to describe my attitude about the rest of my life.

For me, life is an adventure.  An adventure in growth, an adventure in spirit and an adventure in love.  I am an explorer.  Breaking new ground each day with the willingness to let life teach me whatever is next in its curriculum.  I can't choose the lessons but I can choose how I use them to mold my life from the inside out.

I know that with this philosophy that when I pass from this world to the next that there will be articles left unwritten,  books left un published, projects left in midstream and relationships to build.  I will never be able to do it all, see it all, have it all, learn it all, share it all and be it all in this one single life.  

But I can leave knowing that what I did do was use my talent and time one moment at a time and that I gave integrity to each of life's assignments whether a book that I wrote or a relationship that I had.  I can leave feeling confident that whatever I touched I touched with love.       

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