Redefining Success: Connecting With What Matters Most

Today, we live in such a fast paced consumer driven society. Much of the time, people are motivated by “success.” In order to be successful, society often defines success as having more “things.” For example, success may be defined as a bigger house, expensive car, fine jewelry, etc. In other words, having “more stuff” is deemed the epitome of all things successful.

And with all that “success” comes all the stress and health problems that occur as a result of working ourselves literally to death. In particular, in order to achieve all that “success,” long hours must be part of the daily regimen. These long hours coupled with stress can have far-reaching consequences such as heart disease, cancer, insomnia, etc.

People do need to work in order to pay the bills, right? Surely, there are the essentials such as food, shelter, etc. Yet, do people really need all that nonessential stuff that supposedly brings more happiness? Is that fancy new car really worth the price? And I’m not talking price in terms of dollars. Likewise, do we need to wine and dine at the finest restaurants that money can buy? Do we need all the latest and greatest gadgets whether we can afford them or not? Do we need the biggest house in the neighborhood? Is all that stuff worth the negative consequences such as loss of family time, spiritual time, connecting with nature, etc.?

Furthermore, how does all that consumerism impact our planet? Are we just going to recycle all of it without any effect on our environment? Has much thought been given to that? Don’t forget we can’t take all that stuff with us! In addition, is this consumerism sending the right message to the next generation? Do we teach kids that spending money is essential to their happiness? Will they love you less if they don’t get those expensive sneakers? Well if so, they will get over it!!

Does society have it all wrong? By the way, we are society! Anyway, should success be defined by how much we achieve in terms of how much money one makes, position title or material possessions? Isn’t quality of life so much more important? After all, I doubt anyone can say that when they are on their way out of this world that they had only wished they worked more hours! Perhaps it’s about time that we redefine “success.”

To redefine success may be particularly difficult for men. After all, men are supposed to be the “breadwinners.” They are the ones that should climb the corporate ladder. Men often “define” themselves by their jobs. On the other hand, women often define themselves in a much broader sense. Of course there are always exceptions. Yet, it’s perfectly normal to hear about women who are stay-at-home moms. For men, there is still somewhat of a stigma attached to being a stay-at-home “dad.” So, there is a bit of a double standard. Also, most women still expect men to be the primary breadwinner.

At any rate, isn’t it about time that we take a deeper look at what is truly important? I doubt very much that we are here on this planet to only achieve in a materialistic sort of way. Why should we define success as less time with family, less spiritual time, etc? Why not live in a more purposeful way? Less bills means more quality time. When we live below our means, we have more time to contribute in a more purposeful way. Instead of being consumers, we become contributors! Think about it. When we have fewer things, we have more time to connect with each other, our planet, wildlife, etc. Life takes on a whole new meaning.

Just to point out, there is nothing at all wrong with having things. It’s just that when we live in such a consumer driven society, we lose our connection to what’s truly important in life. When we have less material possessions, we have more time to focus on broadening our understanding for “purpose.” That is, the shallowness of “things” is no longer as important in a society that thrives on meaningful connections with each other, and the environment in which we live. Finally, are we here just to consume or do we want to contribute in a meaningful way?

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About wordswithpurpose

Compassion motivates and inspires me. Whether it’s compassion for animals, the environment, or people–I embrace it. I try to live a compassionate life each and everyday. It gives me purpose.
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14 Responses to Redefining Success: Connecting With What Matters Most

  1. cup of joe says:

    WWP, very good outlook on life. When we have focus “only” on gaining the most out of the material world some things must suffer (family time, memories missed, etc.). As I grow older I’m spending more time with the ones I love, making memories, and as minimal time as possible on everything else. Time waits for no one, and I’m not wasting one minute of it……….

    • Always appreciate your insight! Doesn’t time fly? And so very true that we need to make each moment matter. Also, how we treat our animals, planet, and each other says a whole lot about who we are. I do believe that other people are beginning to become more aware of the multitude of issues that we face. Awareness can bring about change.

      Thanks again for taking time out to make a comment. Not everyone does, so when I get one, it’s greatly appreciated!

  2. It’s like you spoke for me but way better . My and my wife have been downsizing on everything. The last one we’re working on is the house and we’re crossing our fingers that we get rid of it soon. There was a time that I just work, work, work and with that comes stress, stress and more stress. Then one day I just woke up and said , is this life is all about? why am I killing myself or taking away that extra time for my family? I talked to my wife about it and she’s feeling the same way. So, we decided just to put a stop on the dreaded cycle. Our goal now is to live a simply life, work on being dept free and more importantly go back to our roots ( God and Family). You are very right , money is not everything and consumerism is not the answer to happiness. Life is to short to waste on enriching yourself in exchange for quality of life for yourself and family. Your post inspired me to keep heading towards a life of peace and simplicity.

    • I so much enjoyed reading your comment! It’s great to hear that you are reconnecting to what’s truly important in life. After all, why should we live a life filled with stress when we can be so much happier without all that stress? Besides, how can we live a more meaningful life if we don’t take care of ourselves? Anyway, thanks for the kind words. I am equally inspired by your comment!

  3. Donna, I just have to read this post again. Redefining success, overcoming life’s stress, finding inner peace and a simple but happy everyday living. Everything I can totally relate to. It’s a constant struggle to follow the right path but for as long as we have life in us, there is hope and there is a chance we’ll all find the one thing that will make as happy and contended. Thank you for sharing and taking time to offer kind words. Wishing you and your family the best in life.

  4. Success should be measured by our health, well being, and happiness. It’s such a shame that people seem to never be content with their lives.

    • So true! I consider myself lucky because I have been fortunate to enjoy good health, loving family, and great friends. I guess I better knock on wood! Even so, it really doesn’t take a whole lot of “stuff” to make us happy. As for me, I much rather enjoy a beautiful sunset! Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Sony Fugaban says:

    I could use this analogy for the law of supply and demand next school year. It’s be a hit for me, Donna. Thank you for this post!

  6. Sony Fugaban says:

    I mean, if I were to give more explanation about that law, after providing the students with the exact meaning of it from the text, I could use as our material possessions increase, so is our bills — at some point. I believe it could aid my attempt to inculcate the concept much better.

  7. jakesprinter says:

    Great article you have here Doc
    very inspirational in my work thanks for sharing. 🙂

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