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Remember that your feelings are informing you of whether you are on track or off track in your thinking and behavior. Remember to notice your feelings throughout the day.

By Dr. Margaret Paul


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How do you Define Success?

By Dr. Margaret Paul
March 08, 2010



Our society is way off track about what is regarded as success. Discover how you define success and if your definition is serving you well.



Take a moment to go inside and see how you define success. Is your success defined by:

  • How much money you have?
  • Having a big house and an expensive car?
  • How expensive your clothes are?
  • Traveling first class on airlines?
  • How attractive you are?
  • How attractive your partner is?
  • How famous you are?
  • Winning or being the best at something?
  • How many beautiful people want to have sex with you?
  • How many friends you have?
  • How much attention and approval you get?

Unfortunately, the media often supports defining success in many of the above ways.

But are you successful just because you have a lot of money, even if you had to use others to get it? What if you made millions and others suffered as a result of your choices? What if you live in a big house and drive an expensive car but find it difficult to be loving to your partner or your children - or to yourself?

What if you defined success by how much to you contribute to another or to society? What if you define success by how kind you are to yourself and to others and by what you contribute to the world? What if success is not defined by how many widgets you sell, but by how many people you help and how joyful you are? 

There are many people who find it easy to make money, or achieve fame but find it very difficult to be kind to themselves and to the people closest to them. There are many people who are outwardly successful yet act out in ways that are harmful to themselves and others. Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, and OJ Simpson come to mind of people who achieved everything but never defined success and inner worth by being loving to themselves and to their families. Instead they defined success by getting sex or by whom they possessed.

What if these people had defined their success and their sense of worth by how well they took loving care of themselves, how kind they were to their families, and how much they contributed to society? Would they have chosen to harm themselves and others to fill their emptiness and avoid the pain that they were causing by their own self-abandonment?

Another example is Michael Jackson, who was incredibly unkind to himself, constantly distorting himself rather than learning to be kind and accepting toward himself. If he had learned to fully embrace his true Self and to define his worth and success by his ability to love rather than by his looks or approval, he might be alive today.

The movie industry is riddled with stars who have everything - money, fame, looks, admiration - and who struggle with various addictions, such as alcohol, drugs, food, and sex. We see various stars on TV, constantly losing and gaining weight, or going in and out of rehab. Why are they so unhappy and empty that they keep turning to addictions?

Obviously, everything they have externally does nothing to fill the void INTERNALLY.  External success actually does nothing to fill the inner emptiness that leads to substance abuse, sexual addiction, and other forms of addiction, as well as to anger, blame and rage. External success is great for financial security and freedom to do whatever you want, but being a truly joyful person demands a different definition of success.

What if love, kindness, generosity, caring, compassion, empathy, and understanding toward ourselves and others, and helpful contributions to society were lauded as the hallmarks of success? What if our newspapers and news channels devoted their stories to people who had learned how to truly love themselves enough to be able to extend their love out to others and contribute to the good of the planet?  What if supporting our own highest good and the highest good of all was valued more than money? What if kindness - to yourself and with others - was your guiding light?

The chances are that you would know, deep within your soul, that you are a huge success - that you are doing what you came to this planet to do!



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