It is critical to have a positive sense of self. Most of us assign ourselves to groups and develop goals that help motivate us to achieve great things.
Without our groups and goals, we would risk moving through life like a sailboat. The wind takes us in whatever direction it blows that particular day—never having a clear path, just going along on a journey and giving the control to chance.
While that mindset is less than appealing, there does come some concern with too much rigidity in our thinking.
It limits our capacity to have a full life with many possibilities. If only a few options exist, opportunities for joy and happiness become scarce. We’ll fixate on what we want and, over time, become miserable when we cannot have the prized possessions.
Our dreams are limited to a much smaller area than what could happen if we were more open to different alternative ways of thinking.
I’ve stated before in previous posts that I was an unhappy human being for much of my earlier years in life. There were many different variables to the cause of that pain. One primary source of the mental turmoil became how I defined myself.
For example, the friend group I associated with was vital to my sense of self.
Loyalty to these individuals helped determine who I was as a human being. This goal of having these deep relationships with friends would solidify me as a good person and also allow me not to go through life alone.
As time passed, I saw this as a faulty way of thinking.
What defines an individual in their position in life comes from their acts, not the group members. Also, if the clique does not share your same values, then the relationships are not reciprocal. This means you put out more than you will ever receive in return.
Indeed, one should aim to do things out of the goodness in their heart.
However, if an individual only does things for others, they will inevitably face emptiness. You cannot get something from nothing in this world. If everything within you is gone, nothing will be left to give.
Also, it will make the givers extremely resentful over time.
Another issue was my narrow definition of success. Focusing on athletics or entertainment as my primary means of achievement was not my best decision. With those fields at the forefront of my mind, I did not take academics as seriously as I could.
The odds of becoming a major attraction in either athletics or entertainment are extraordinarily slim, and competition is fierce.
I’m not discouraging people from trying to prosper in those fields. However, it would be unwise for someone to limit their definition of “making it” to becoming a professional soccer player or an A-list actor. Working in a community theatre or playing in a semi-pro league are additional ways to live out your dream differently.
The point of all this comes down to avoiding confining yourself to stringent standards.
Life will change the longer we live. What we thought was significant at 20 may become an afterthought at 40. It’s all right to have goals and dreams, but reassessing those desires over time is also very appropriate.
The ability to bend but not break is vital for all of us.
Try to permit yourself to think outside the box about your life. Don’t confine yourself to the expectation of others; go inward and find out what you genuinely want to do. We spend so much time discussing happiness but forget what people find essential at the end of their lives, the things that gave them meaning.
What are some ways that you have redefined success for yourself?
Vertis Williams is a Positive Habits Life Coach and a Mindfulness Trainer. He is a regular presenter at employee and team-development events. Contact him to request more info on his Workshops or on his Coaching Services! Click HERE to Request a Complimentary Habit Coaching Session!