What does it mean to be Successful?

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Some say its your background – where you come from, the year you were born, your culture, your race or whether you rich or poor.

I always thought successful people were rich people. And if you were not rich, you were very smart and talented at something.

I just finished reading a book called, The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Its about the story of successful people – what makes people successful – the why, the what, and the who of these people labeled as ‘successful’. But I’m not going to go into the details of that book. Read it yourself.

What inspired me about this book is this… Those who are labeled as successful and those who are not, depends on 3 things:

1) what you imagine ‘success’ to be

2) opportunity

3) meaningful work

You can be as successful as you want to be through determination and hard work or just plain opportunity and luck! However you see ‘successful’ – whether its through meaningful work that pays little but makes a difference, or whether its through politics and the belief in a better country – its yours for the taking! No-one else.

It doesn’t matter if you rich or poor. It DOES matter where you come from – never forget that. But remember, you can be whoever you want to be. It’s up to you – not the world. So go on… fight for that right!

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Everyone wants to be as productive as possible. Whether its in their work life or home life. The saying “killing two birds with one stone” is often the case so we can cheat time.

But no-one can cheat time. Nor, make more time available either.

Being more productive has nothing to do with time. If you think about it – its almost just a state-of-being.

Perhaps that doesn’t make sense. Let me tell you a story…

One day, I decided to take my daughter and her friend to the park where the art centre was running a children’s art workshop for 4 hours.

My initial thought was – “they would love that!” My second thought was “What could I do for those 4 hours while they in the workshop?!” I had two options. Drop them off and drive back home home – work a bit and then pick them up again. Or, stay in the park, have some breakfast, and finish reading that book.

The latter would definitely save me car fuel. But 4 hours!!! I could be doing so much more work if I went home instead.

I had a lot of work to get through that week, so the thought of ‘wasting’ 4 hours sitting in the gardens, weighed heavy on my mind.

And then I decided to trust my gut feel (and save the fuel!). I dropped off the girls and headed for a light breakfast and the park for the ‘dreaded’ 4 hours.

What do you think I achieved in that 4 hours by staying in the park? For one, it inspired me to write this blog post! And two, it gave me perspective. How different would that 4 hours be compared to going back home again? What would I have achieved then?

Human instinct tells us when we busy, to squeeze more into your day in order to get more done. It’s the natural reaction when you are feeling overwhelmed and busy. This reaction is not productive, nor good for you, especially if you doing this on a regular basis. What you need to do when you are busy and overwhelmed, is to slow down.

Do you think me sitting in the gardens for 4 hours was a waste of time?

You may think that, but that depends on your perspective of time. You see, when you slow down, you actually speed up. When you slow down, you get MORE done. This is often spoken about in road traffic research, and in agile methodologies in software development.

Panic, stress, overwhelming thoughts of not getting things done – is a sign that you need to take a break or a step back from the situation. The mind will tell you otherwise. It will bring on thoughts/feelings of guilt and that you are ‘wasting time’. Ironically, only over much time, can you change this condition to run around like a headless chicken.

To be alone with your thoughts is powerful. Sometimes your body and mind is trying to tell you something, but there’s too much noise for us to hear it. By the way, the deadlines I was chasing that week wasn’t as urgent as I thought. It never is – is it? Unless you a procrastinator, then I’d say stop putting off the inevitable, and get to it. Now.

Slowing down will focus you more, and it will combat all sense of time you thought you had control over.

Control is letting go of time and just B R E A T H E…