Copyright © 2017. Silent Mind. All Rights Reserved.
By Ahmed Muneeb
Success. It is the ever elusive feeling and quest that no doubt every one wants to attain for and everyone wants to feel. It makes sense right? Who, in their right mind, wants to shoot for the opposite?!
There is a problem with this one word though. It's vague. How does it come to fruition? What is it? How is it attained? What are the factors that lead up to it? There are many cliches to success as well, from motivational speakers to writers and authors, etc.
It is not as easy to point out.
Here is where the subjective perspectives come into play. Some have a generational perspective to the meaning and may argue the "definition" changes from generation to generation. What may have held true to "society's definition" of success in previous generations may not be the case for the current one. There is definitely an argument to be made here.
Usually success (let's be honest) is associated with financial wealth. I know in my parents generation having spent their 20s during the 1980s — that was the standard bearer. Especially when industries such as finance/money-oriented careers such as investments, dominated the top career choices for new graduates, under the Reagan era. Your success professionally and furthermore, your reputation was more or less dependent upon how much income you generate and how much wealth you have.
That still holds true today on some level as well. Let's not ignore that. We have been spoiled by constantly hearing headlines of freshly-minted billionaires in Silicon Valley and everywhere in the tech arena. In some cases hearing stories of these events occurring within only five years. Even though, it still holds true, there are other layers for our current generation that we incorporate in to our definition of success to go beyond of what maybe the previous generation had believed. Or at least, the perception of their beliefs.
We care about a very powerful six lettered word in today's world: "I.M.P.A.C.T." If I complete this task or commit to this business, then what is the end goal? What is the purpose of what we are doing? What problem is it going to solve? That is the mind frame of the current millennial generation. We have heard all the negativity in the 24/7 news cycle about our world today. Seems like its just bloodshed and destruction and that only on television. The power of social media could blow up any story at any moment.
We see and hear these terrible events only to find ourselves and it gets us thinking. We want more. Not to just be bound by the lives of our cubicles and sitting behind a desk all day buzzing through emails without any thought. We do not want that anymore. At least not just that. We do not want the negativity or hearing someone shouting through a microphone telling us that the world is a dangerous place and that there is no hope for it to change so stay put. We do care for problems and finding potential solutions to our society's shortcomings. We find ourselves constantly concerned with, socially responsible organizations and as well as investing to advance the world for the better. We want to feel like we are making a difference.
On a personal level, there is no better feeling and nothing more rewarding than giving back to your community or feeling like your work has meaning. Its even better to have a direct organization that accomplishes the same objective that is able to utilize many resources to further fulfill a quest.
This is not limited to a "generational" definition either. It was just an example. The bottom line is that what one individual's definition of success could be very different from the next person. That is okay. It could be to primarily build a functional business from the ground up with strong sales or it could be creating an organization and research that has a clear mission to tackle serious societal issues. It could be being recognized as being on top of your profession as a lawyer, doctor, teacher, etc. For others, "success" could mean something more fundamental such as being 'there' for your kids as a parent, being a loving spouse, or having the support and being surrounded loving friends and family.
Again, it's okay to have YOUR own definition of what success looks like. It is not about the money. At least not only. I, myself, am learning to define it as well and what it looks like. THAT is the challenge. Hopefully we all could work to attain it, because it sure is empowering — but first, you as an individual MUST define it.
As the great Michael Jordan once stated:
"Success is How You Perceive It"