Measuring the Success of Your Life


[one_half]You may have heard of the tongue in cheek expression, “The one who dies with the

Measuring the Success of Your Life most toys wins.” In bumper sticker wisdom, this is one way of measuring success. The implication is that life is about the accumulation of things. Of course, that is not true for most people. Life is much more than spending your time gathering things.

How will you determine if you are successful? If you are in your twenties while reading this, you are just beginning your life and discovering what it is you want. Those in the midst of intense study for a field such as medicine, law or other doctoral degree have no time to read short articles such as this. Only those who are looking for ways to move themselves forward, to find a way to achieve, would have the time and inclination to read this article.

Take ten minutes right now and reflect upon this question. If you died today, what can you look back on as achievements? Some people would list their education, projects accomplished, things they’ve accumulated. Others would talk about the people in their lives including their family and the number of friends they have. Still others, probably much fewer, would point to their relationship to their Higher Power and their spirituality. Be sure and do a quick list of your achievements before you read the next paragraph.

Now for the next question that you have probably heard many times. If you only have six months to live, what would you do? The purpose of this question is to assist you in discovering what is really important in your life. The problem with the time limit of this particular question is that every one of us would probably choose to  do something much different if we were told we had six months to live than if we were told we had ten years to live. The time constraint of six months [/one_half] [one_half_last]doesn’t require much long-term planning. For instance, you can run up your credit cards  to do whatever you want without having to worry about paying them back.

Did you answer the six months to live question?

Now answer the same question but with a ten year time limit. Let’s make it a little different. Let’s say you’ve been told you have ten years to achieve something significant with your life, but aren’t told the definition of significant. If you’ve accomplished this in ten years, you are granted another ten years. If you haven’t done something of significance at the end of that time period then your life is over. Once a year you’d receive a note in the mail reminding you of the progress of time, but not telling you if you’ve achieved significance or not. You have to decide that for yourself. Now what would you do? Take a few minutes to jot down a few things.

Your mind will answer the questions you ask it. That means your answers depend upon the way you ask your questions. The questions above are general in nature. You will receive different answers if you change the focus. For instance, answer this, “If you only had six months to make enough money to support yourself and three other people for a year, what would you do?” Did the answer change from the general “six months to live” question?

Play with the phrasing of the questions. Insert words such as “show someone you love them” or “build a new house.” How would your answers change? Here’s a scary one. “If you knew that a particular loved one only had six months to live, and there was nothing you could do to change that, what would you do?”

Questions which include time limits force our subconscious minds to respond in a certain direction. Play with your questions regarding success and discover what is important to you.   [/one_half_last]

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