We are taught, hear and read much about what is required in order to attain success.
Education systems; workplace performance programs and assessment tools; societal attitudes; ‘gurus’ on the subject and personal frameworks all contribute towards creating definitions aimed at determining the parameters of what it means to ‘be successful’.
Given the plethora of information that circulates daily on the subject, it almost defies logic that so many remain seduced by the constant need to be and do ‘more’ in order to reach that ever illusive point of having ‘made it’ in life.
More effort; more action; more time; more money; more goals; more – more – more, which quite ironically ultimately creates so much less. Less energy; less living in the present; less sleep; less health and less focus on what it means to truly thrive.
Although there is much value, happiness and joy to be found in what may be termed some of the ‘trappings of success’, such as a beautiful home; a good car; sufficient financial stability to enable exotic holidays etc., there is often a fine line between what success is viewed to be, and how it feels in one’s heart.
Simply put, if one does not awake each morning with a sense of feeling fully alive and is unable to connect with a true sense of personal thriving – there is a problem.
A close (late) friend and colleague of mine would sometimes use the word ‘outstanding’ when he wanted to illustrate the absolute best experience of someone or something. He did not use it all that often, but when he did, I can still recall the powerful energy it would create – conjuring up a sense of ‘the ultimate’ – of there being no better at that point in time.
Outstanding to me, resonates with the feeling of success. To thrive in life is to live an outstanding life. What that is and the shape it takes is unique to each of us. It is not generic. There is no formula, except one’s own. All that is required is to recognise, strive towards, create and claim it.
Perhaps one of the greatest difficulties in our current Covid times is to retain a soulful connection with the outstanding elements of our lives. In my experience, this takes less effort – albeit perhaps more mindfulness – in focusing on some of the everyday moments that surround us.
Here are 10 of the daily habits I have found to promote the ‘outstanding’ in the ‘ordinary’ moments of each day:
- Feeling love and gratitude in waking up to having family around me in the home and living close by.
- Greeting our two Rhodesian Ridgebacks at the bottom of the stairs and giving them each a huge hug, which they enthusiastically return.
- Savouring that morning coffee and always choosing to experience it as a gastronomic, tasteful treat.
- Marvelling at how correspondence, news and information automatically flows through the ether on to the screens of various electronic devices; as well as marvelling at how easily it can be turned off.
- Putting on those running shoes, going out for a run, smelling Mother Nature and breathing in the fresh, cool and crisp air of a new day.
- Savouring a hot shower and the action of choosing which clean clothes to wear for the day ahead.
- Experiencing work as interesting, engaging and satisfying, even when the pressure is on, knowing that in time it will subside again.
- Being able to connect with others all over the world through various technological means, as well as making plans to meet up in real life too.
- Settling into an evening meal, a glass of wine, a television show and having a warm bed to snuggle into at night.
- Reflecting on all that has transpired in the day, giving thanks and being mindful of the many blessings that living in the now bring into my life.
None of these 10 habits are mind blowing or earth shattering. And none of them deny that there are difficult days, when this appreciative focus may indeed require quite a lot ‘more’ effort.
Yet it is in the richness of these moments that I am able to live to thrive – daily. And in so doing, reap the benefits of what success means to me.
Written in dedication to valued lifetime friends and colleagues who have left this realm too soon this year and those who continue to courageously soldier on and fight to retain their ability to live to thrive in this time.