What does success mean and are we chasing the right things in life?

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Have you ever asked yourself — “Every morning after I wake up, is there a reason I do these things on my daily agenda? Am I really in control of that agenda? Am I doing them because I think I’m supposed to, or maybe someone else expects me to?”

The reason I want you to think about that is because I want you to introspect and figure out what kind of life you want to lead. Once you’ve narrowed down on the kind of life you are pursuing, deciding where to invest your time and energy becomes much simpler, and that makes the road to success so much easier.

It really boils down to two different mindsets an individual can have — a ‘Fixed Mindset’ and a ‘Growth Mindset’. If you believe that life isn’t constrained, and that you can use the skills, talents, energy at your disposal to improve on yourself, grow further and improve your situation, that is a growth mindset. Now when I say growth, I don’t mean just money and material possessions. I mean having a better rounded life and enjoying what life has to offer in terms of personal growth.

Most people I’ve met define success in terms of money. This is no surprise because the media often portrays success and a good life in terms of wealth, financial prosperity and luxury. I used to believe that for a long time as well, but that has changed for me.

My perspective when looking at life is this: when we start out, I believe we are all given two things. Each of us are given 24 hours on a daily basis and a ticket to the genetic lottery. That is non-negotiable no matter who you are. The genetic lottery may define what your background is, which country you’re born in, how rich or poor your family is, what kind of network connections you can access, what internal and external strengths or weaknesses we all have. You may be born with illnesses, disabilities, a superior intellect, or an outgoing personality. This list goes on, but people with Growth mindsets use their strengths while looking past their circumstances and obstacles to evolve despite any such personal limitations.

This is why you will often hear about a disadvantaged child with many challenges, or someone from a broken family getting into a great school, or landing a good job after working their way up, or starting a business and gaining financial success. The media loves those stories, because it takes a strong ‘Growth’ mindset to achieve that.

How does this apply to you, and how can you start looking at things this way too?

My definitions of success involve taking your 24 hours and your circumstances and then converting them into a better Return On Investment (ROI). You simply need to make more intelligent choices with what you have available.

[Note: Return on investment (ROI) is a percentage of the gain or loss on an investment. Ex, a $400 investment that pays $100 profit represents a 25% ROI]

For everything that I do now, I’ve learnt to ask myself — “Am I getting some kind of ROI out of this? It could be Financial, Emotional, Mental, Physical, Spiritual ROI.” (Let’s call this the #FEMPS ROI. Remember this, I will keep coming back to this forever)

Financial / Emotional / Mental / Physical / Spiritual ROI

I believe that success is a combination of all of these kinds of ROI. Being able to convert the same 24 hours and my individual circumstances to get the best ROI is what true success really is. True success involves growing beyond just money.

Think about it:

  • If you had a lot of money, but no close friends, family or loved ones, would you feel successful? Or would you constantly worry that people who are trying to get close to you are really after your money?
  • If you had a ton of money, but poor health would you feel successful and be able to enjoy that money?

Now, my guidance here is not to tell you to stop thinking about money completely. We definitely need money for food, medical expenses, entertainment etc. It is important, but it’s not what will make us feel successful. [ My next post coming up in a few days will be about the different tools you need to gain financial independence]

In order to start thinking this way, I encourage you to start thinking differently. Start looking at your daily agenda and the things people expect you to do.

Begin asking yourself things like:

  • What kind of ROI does this give me? Am I gaining anything on the FEMPS ROI measure?
  • Am I being intentional about my time, energy & emotions?
  • Does meeting these people I call ‘friends’ help me become better emotionally? Am I happier or sadder everything I meet them? Am I mentally a smarter person?
  • Does buying this particular product give me anything to be physically stronger? Am I healthier for doing it?

This takes practice, but it is a terrific tool for your life. And once you start doing that, you will begin to see yourself asking questions about the regular things you do in life. Your job, your friends, your habits, your hobbies, your financial decisions.

You need to understand that sometimes a particular action or decision may only provide long term #FEMPS ROI. Not every single thing we do will give us immediate returns. In fact, most valuable things take time to evolve and build on. For example, helping a friend in need who is in trouble, or needs guidance. The act of helping this friend may cost you some time or money or may even be emotionally draining sometimes. But you have to expect that seeing this friend out of trouble down the line would be emotionally satisfying. Another great example is roughing it out at a difficult, stressful job temporarily till you get enough experience and learning to move on. That is the key to appreciate this. We will often need to be patient, and do things with a longer term horizon to really see value. But how much time to invest is a decision YOU need to make for yourself.

As we go further through the content series I plan on posting with #Lokyatha, I would like to introduce you to many more tools to manage your FEMPS ROI; to get the maximum return from your investment and live more successful lives through being more intentional in your financial, professional and other areas of your life. The next post will be about financial management tools we all need.

I would love to hear what you think about this and whether you agree. Don’t forget to subscribe / follow Lokyatha for more such content.

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

Lokyatha is an education focused initiative to enable young adults to live better, more fruitful lives by delivering real world life skills.