Not long ago I was looking over the latest listing of the world's billionaires and while I was trying to visualize a personal fortune worth billions of dollars, I found the list interesting for a couple of other reasons. For one, the list seems to get longer every year; the number of individuals joining that exclusive group is growing. And then I was struck by how the annual listing seems to foster a competition for the title of "The World's Richest Person."
As sometimes happens, I then wondered, when does a billionaire feel successful? Does it happen with the first 100 million, or does it only hit home after that first billion is tucked away? And then again, if the competitive juices are really flowing, does real success come by locking up that ultimate title, "The World's Richest Person?"
Please understand, I'm not looking askance at the accumulation of wealth. Far from it. I believe everyone should be rewarded in direct proportion to the extent he or she contributes to making life better for the rest of us. And I agree with the person who said, "I've been poor and I've been rich. Rich is better." But still, I think it's fair to ask, when does the average billionaire feel successful? And then, inevitably, another thought comes to mind: How does anyone know when they're successful?
It shouldn't be too surprising that my reflections generated some additional Questions. For example, is it really possible, after all, to put a dollar value on success. And once that element of doubt has been raised, it's only fair to ask, how should we measure success?
There's a view widely ingrained in our culture, of course, that success is measured primarily in dollar amounts and other material possessions. According to this definition, our standing in life is assessed strictly by such yardsticks as total wealth or income level, job title, social status, and lifestyle, even coming down to such criteria as looks, where we live and what kind of car we drive.
I'm not comfortable with that definition, though, and I'm sure you're not either. True success in life is something entirely different than having lots of money, social position and good looks. In my opinion, the essence of success has less to do with what we achieve in life and much more to do with the direction you're heading in life. I think it's far better to define success in terms of the goals you set and the quality of your pursuit of those goals than by any riches you may amass. Think about that for moment and ask yourself these Questions:
Where is my life headed right now? Is the direction in which I'm heading making the best use of my time and talents? Is it worthy of what I'm capable of doing with my life? And, is it serving constructive purposes by making a positive contribution in some way?
Those aren't easy Questions to answer but they're undoubtedly some of the most important Questions you could ever ask yourself. Another question I think it's important to ask is: Am I enjoying the journey? Am I finding joy and satisfaction in my day-to-day life? I hope so, because you don't need to spend your life in unfulfilling work or unrewarding activities. True success lies in loving what you do. The world's most successful people love what they do. They've found paths that excite them and they spend their days expanding their abilities in areas they enjoy.
You know, in thinking back about that listing of the world's billionaires, I feel sure, when they've taken time to reflect about it, that all billionaires at some point enjoy a sense of achievement, the thrill of success. But it's unlikely that awareness of success ever comes from attaining a particular monetary benchmark. These are individuals who knew they were successful once they had worthy goals firmly in place, believed in their abilities to succeed and were committed to making the most of the journey. Billionaires don't realize success because of their wealth; they realize wealth because of their successful lives.
About Robert Stuberg
Robert Stuberg is one of the world's leading authorities on personal and professional success. He is most widely recognized for his role as Founder and Chairman of Success.com, the premier source for personal and professional development products and services worldwide. Robert is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, coach, entrepreneur, and consultant.
For over 20 years, Robert has researched the philosophy and science of achievement, traveling the world and studying with some of the greatest minds in the personal development field to learn ancient wisdom and cutting-edge technologies. His goal: to help people from all walks of life reach more of their infinite human potential for success.
Robert's experiences include developing some of the most successful programs in the personal development industry with such people as Tony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Deepak Chopra, Ken Blanchard, and many others. Prior to starting his own company, Robert was Executive Vice President of Nightingale-Conant Corporation.
Robert is the author of many best-selling books and audio programs including "The 12 Life Secrets," "Creating Your Ultimate Destiny," "The 12 Wealth Secrets," "Creating Internet Wealth," "Sell and Grow Rich," "Success Coaching," and "Time Mastery."
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