With so much talk about “success stories” and being successful with losing weight, I’ve been thinking about what success means and what it looks like. How do you know if you are being successful?
To try to look at this more objectively, I went to dictionary.com to see how they define it. Here are a few of their definitions:
1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals
2. a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors
3. a person or thing that has had success, as measured by the attainment of goals, wealth, etc.
Hmmmm, I’m not sure I 100% agree with this, particularly with how it relates to this journey to health.
Then I decided to read the thoughts of those far wiser than me.
“No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction.” -Charles Kendall Adams
“Unless you're willing to have a go, fail miserably, and have another go, success won't happen.” -Phillip Adams
“Health, happiness and success depend upon the fighting spirit of each person. The big thing is not what happens to us in life - but what we do about what happens to us.” -George Allen
“Confidence is the companion of success.” –Anonymous
“Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” –Orison Swett Marden
“Success means doing the best with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” –Zig Ziglar
“The best way to succeed is to act on the advice you give to others.” –Anonymous
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.” –Michael Jordan
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” –Bill Gates
“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” –Morihei Ueshiba
“The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you.” –Tony Robbins
“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back?” –W. Clement Stone
“Communication - the human connection - is the key to personal and career success.” –Paul J. Meyer
“Success comes when people act together; failure tends to happen alone.” –Deepak Chopra
“There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap.’” –Carrie Fisher
Wow, a lot of interesting ideas on success, and a few threads that can be pulled out from them:
1. You can’t have success without failure.
It makes sense, really. First of all, failing allows us to practice doing something so we can learn the best way to do it right. Secondly, how would we know what success looked like if we didn’t have a failure available for comparison?
2. It’s not just about the end result; it’s about the journey.
So true! Looking at whether or not the scale has moved down in any given week to determine success misses the point. I can starve myself for a week and lose weight, but is that success? Hardly. But looking at the choices I have made in my everyday living – things like choosing not to use food as a pacifier when stressed, getting in exercise, paying attention to my bodily cues – that is where success can be found.
And this journey? It never ends. Unlike the definition of success that talks about the “termination of attempts or endeavors,” true success on SP is lifelong. It isn’t just about losing a certain amount of weight or being able to complete a specific athletic feat; it’s about making the choices that will get us to whatever state of health we aspire to and then continuing to make those choices so we can maintain that state regardless of what changes may come in our environment. No termination of attempts here. It just keeps going and going…
3. Success takes a LOT of work.
Short-term success can be easily attained, like when we all first joined SP and had that rush of motivation that spurred us on to exercise, eat well, and drink plenty of water! But then the glow wore off, and doing all those things felt like, well, a lot of effort. Sometimes days, weeks, months can go by without wanting to do them. But those who have persevered in the face of that – they are successful. (And I am still trying to get there. But I won’t stop trying.)
4. Success doesn’t exist in a bubble.
This is what SP is built on, right? The community! I have been so off and on over these past 18 months that I sometimes wonder why anyone would still come visit my page or still have me as a SparkFriend. But every time I come back, various people I have talked with along the way are still there to welcome me with open arms and encourage me as I get into the swing of things again. It really means a lot to know that folks haven’t given up on me, and it spurs me on to strive for success in my daily life.
I also am glad for the opportunity to get to be a part of the journey of others who are sharing their stories on SP. Whether it’s celebrating their highs or supporting them during their lows, being involved with others here adds to this experience. It’s inspiring, it promotes camaraderie, it encourages success.
I think I’ve gone on enough here
What are your thoughts on success?