Success is all around you (and more importantly, inside you too!)

Jack and Eleanor
Jack and Eleanor

I’ve thought a lot about success lately, and what that concept really means to me. There are zillions of quotes about success and a greater number of opinions about what it means to have lived a successful life, but so many of these seem to be focused on achieving something that the world can see and applaud, or a sort of summing up of a person’s life, weighing it, then stamping it with the appropriate label: Success, Failure, Mediocre, Uneventful . And yet, what I have come to see is that success is an in the moment, and very private, thing.

Everyone has been a success at something, in some moment, in their lives, and who am I to judge anyone’s life as a success or failure? I can’t possibly have known even the tiniest fraction of what they thought or did in their life: the word that they spoke to someone and changed that person’s life, the time they stopped their car and held up traffic so a turtle could cross the road, the sleepless nights that they stayed up with a sick child, quietly rocking and soothing them to sleep. The apple pie they brought to a sick friend, the dollar that they gave to someone on the street, even though it was their last dollar. All of the quiet little heroic acts. The quiet successes.

Since I cannot really know if anyone is a success or not, I’ve made a decision to call everyone’s life a success, and when I think about them, I intend to look for their successes instead of where I think they’ve come up short.

I spent much of my life comparing myself to others, and when I felt less-than, I (consciously and unconsciously) looked for what they were doing wrong, in an attempt to bolster my own sense of self, and not come up so short in my own mind. One day I realized how insane this was. “If we are all connected, and I am looking for the failure in others, won’t I just find more of that in myself?”, was the question that came to my mind and stopped me in my tracks. It was so obviously true. I wondered how I had missed it for so many years. We get what we are looking for.

What also surprised me was how quickly this turned around (my feelings about myself) when I started looking for other people’s successes. Success is mine,and yours, now. It is ours when we think a better thought. It is ours when we look for it.

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” Thomas Paine

12 thoughts on “Success is all around you (and more importantly, inside you too!)”

  1. Great photo of Jack and Eleanor, someone once said to me , “you compare you loose” , which is exactly what I was trying (at the time,to do ) , beat myself up by feeling less than , being less than. I can start my day over and change my thoughts whenever I choose….and that is “success” to me. XXO to all!

  2. I read once that “happiness is getting what you want”….and success is “wanting what you get”. I don’t know if I totally agree, but it is something I always remembered.
    Ken C

  3. I have a kaleidoscope near to where I am sitting and as I was reflecting on this post which made me feel so ‘quietly happy’, I thought of turning the wheel slowly on the kaleidoscope. Every single turn of the dial reveals something beautiful, not more or less than the image of the second before, but perfect as it is. May each of our days, because we never know how many we may have, reveal to us, or should I say, me we reveal to the day, the perfection of the unique creation we are, one slow spin at a time.

  4. Sweet photo! I believe we can start the world over again each day. Building on our successes and forgiving our shortcomings – as well as of those around us.

  5. I keep reading this over and again, coming back to it and feeling the truth of it for me and how directly it applies to my life’s situation today. and yes, we are all a success in some way or another and are all part of the oneness—–the whole.

    I’ve adopted a new kitty who found her way to my door about a week ago. My gray cat, Finners, isn’t so sure he wants to share space with her! Not being a feline myself, I can’t “understand” that, but I do need to work with this situation in a conscious way and be patient; I see how your cats, Mary, seem to mingle and co-exist with the others, though I don’t see just how that all came to be. If you have any experience to share with me please do. And thanks for this posting.

    1. I have a lot of experience with new kitties Virginia! and my cats (except Fred who accepts everyone instantly) always seem to take quite a bit of time to accept the new one. Even when we brought Eleanor home (and she was only a few days old, weighed 7 oz, and couldn’t walk yet, the other cats hissed and had a fit. So, I usually pull out our large cat condo and put the new one in that so the others can get used to him or her but cannot attack. I hope this helps, and I think it is wonderful that you have a new friend in your home. Love, Mary

      1. it looks like I am doing all the right things and it takes time for all to adjust. It reminds me of myself; often my first perceptions of a person or situation makes me want to hiss too, but giving myself patience to soften and sniff things out can bring tolerance if not love. what teachers our pets can be, little zen masters.

        Thanks for your insights and again, this posting. I love you dear Mary.

  6. Jack’s smile looks like the male Mona Lisa. As enigmatic as you are enriching! Now that’s a successful combination.

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