So what does success mean to you?
Perhaps success to you means working from a beach like the chap in the photo! Success to some people is being wealthy whilst to others it’s something like bringing up your children to be kind.
My point is that Success is different for many people and indeed even when you know what it is, it’s sometimes difficult to measure.
I have always been fascinated by understanding what success means to different people and more importanly helping them to achieve it.
I am convinced that contentment is inextricably linked to achieving success If you don’t know what success is for you, then you are never going to get it. and you will feel unfulfilled or discontented.
Perhaps it’s at this time of life (latter middle age) that you start to wonder what would have happened if you had done this or that!
The late Dave French and I became convinced that somehow contentment was nothing to do with joy, excitement or laughter, and in a way, true happiness didn’t either. We often discussed what this meant for people who “put on a brave face” as in Smokey Robinsons song the “Tears of a Clown”
We became convinced that everyone was capable of being truly satisfied with their life and therefore happy and that there was a solution that was really, really simple but not necessarily easy!
What was more shocking and perhaps disturbing was that we chose no matter what the situation.
This caused some ethical debate! But surely some people have worse circumstances or situations than others how can we say happyness is a choice? We soon recognised that some people with the most incredible talent whose world is their oyster and are a bundle of fun, are not necessarily happy. Indeed its these people that quite often lose the will to live.
It became clear one day when Dave said something to me
“Something strange happened this weekend Pete” . “We were out walking and got lost and my mate gets the map out and said, this stream shouldnt be here” Dave paused waiting to see if I spotted the peculiarity of this.
“Ah, no chance then that he was looking at the map incorrectly!” said Pete
“Yep” said Dave “You have got it! Of course the stream WAS there, like it had been for thousands of years, so how come humans think that the impossible is possible”
“I guess he could have said the map was wrong”. Said Pete
“Yep but he didn’t, and that wouldn’t have been correct either because it wasn’t. What was wrong was that we didn’t know how to reference our map correctly”. said Dave.
“A bit like life really” said Pete
“Exactly”. said Dave
“Mm, so here we are on our journey down to Honda Chiswick, we have the map in our minds of how to get there and at each landmark we know, it reinforces we know where we are going and it feels good. Imagine if we had set off without a map or any knowledge of how to get to our destination, wander around untill we bump into it! It’s a bit like life really isn’t it. It’s not really suprising that after 20 years or so of we could feel frustrated and end up somewhere we never intended”. Said Pete.
“Exactly” said Dave. “Welcome to our journey of life”
“So it looks like we need to get our maps of our futures sorted” said Pete
“Good name for a development programme” said Dave
“Good name for a way of life” said Pete.
So what this is telling us is that if we wish to feel content and happy, we firstly have to forget about “giving ourselves treats” this type of contentment or happiness is shallow and short lived.
We have to
- create a “map”of our journey and to do that we need to know what we truly think success is – to us, and only us. This is not a shared map.
- pick out some “waypoints” on the way so that we know we are getting there Just think of the excitenemt (or contentment) when you know you are getting there
- learn to recognise success ie achievement when you reach your waypoints.
- when you get lost (as we all do fom time to time) refer back to your map and use your compass to reorientate. You might need a FutureMapping coach to assist you)
- just live your life according to your new map that you have created.
- Change our map as we change, if we need to..