There is never a right time or a wrong time to embark upon your journey of wellbeing. The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed us down; for some of us, it has forcibly brought things to a grinding halt. This sudden or unplanned “Window of Time” has become a “Window of Opportunity”.
Its time to introspect. Its ME time!!
We may have lived life in the fast lane – someone chasing success, achieving heights of all possible parameters of success. Or not. What exactly have we been striving for? So, at the cost of repetition, let me once again define that success – materialistic possessions, comfort, lots of money, popularity, constant recognition and acknowledgement from near and dear ones about all above mentioned, etc.-that’s what we generally mean by success.
But who has defined these parameters of success for us? Parents, friends, relatives, media, society? And once we achieve these we are proclaimed successful and hence we would have achieved happiness or are expected to be a well-to-do happy person-true? Really True??
Do we now pack our bags and head to an ashram or Himalayas?
Money is important, it gives economic stability and all the perks and comfort that come with it. Nobody questions the power of money in aiding the overall standards of life. Then why, despite all the (so-called) successes do individuals continue to face unhappiness, despair or emptiness? Why is it the wealthiest of countries and societies continue to report anxiety, depression and several other mental health issues? Despite the material possessions, carrying happily married or in-relationship tag (yes we gotta display that on social media), going on exotic holidays and “in” restaurants, evidenced by Instagram and Facebook posts… having done it all, are we yet searching for something? Is there yet a deep melancholy? Why?
Now that we have been ‘hit’ by an accidental/unforeseen “Window of Opportunity”, should we rethink that definition of success?
My belief is that success is highly personal and should be personal. It should not be about the externally defined or extrinsic characteristics but should be coming from within or intrinsic characteristics and parameters. And how should we try to attain this “new” definition of success?
This journey of defining success starts with the understanding of self: Who am I? Not just at a spiritual level but from normal mortal’s viewpoint; answering key aspects such as:
How do I cope with my emotions? What are my strengths and weaknesses as a person? What bothers me? How do I react to stressful situations? How well have I accepted myself with my strengths and weaknesses?
It is this understanding of the self that will lead us to one key parameter- Personal Wellbeing.
Another reason for the dreaded melancholy referred above could be the dissonance with our career: where is it going, what do we need to do as against what we would like to do, what makes us passionate versus what keeps us on the money-trail…. and so on. The gap between income and professional satisfaction must be bridged if we seek to banish melancholy on that account; in short, we seek to understand:
What really interests me? What are my abilities? What are my values that encourage me to undertake a particular type of work? Am I in a profession where I start working and don’t realize when the day got over and didn’t feel stressed about it? And does that define the purpose of my life?
Understanding of these parameters will lead to a state of Career Wellbeing.
Alright, let’s also think about our social life and the parameters of good, quality relationships we enjoy with our near and dear ones. Will this help us become “successful” in our new way of thinking?
What is the level of positivity we enjoy with our colleagues and bosses in our professional life? Do we see the same set of “relationship difficulties” with our professional life that we have always had with our family, spouse or relatives – is there a pattern to it? Should we make changes to our relationship management styles to achieve harmony in our social life?
Understanding these questions and reflecting on where they point will lead to Relationship Wellbeing.
Another strong influencer for “success” in our new way of thinking is the state of physical health, and the influence of our states of mind on this health. What is that connection, and how can we influence it proactively to be “successful”? It may help to break this question into smaller areas:
How well do we cope with stress? What are those psychological aspects that affect the body? Acidity, headache, sleep disturbances, body aches… are they due to our habits, lifestyle or do they also arise from the way we think?
Understanding of these parameters will lead to Physical Wellbeing
Ultimately, we have to consider what are the values that drive us to behave or have desires that we have?
My friend loves travelling, I enjoy being with others. A friend of mine may be constantly seeking attention at parties. I find it hard to be manipulative, but others in my office can simply do it without any effort or guilt. We all go through these and many other dilemmas, observations or experiences. Somewhere deep down they reflect accurately an individual’s needs or motives. In other words, the Values.
Understanding of our values and motives will lead to Personal flourishing.
So, can these therefore become the parameters of success? To me these are fundamental to achieve what I call “PURPOSEFUL SUCCESS” or “MEANINGFUL SUCCESS”.
It is extremely difficult to break open our mental shackles arising from the current definition of success: but that’s what the current “Window of Opportunity” has opened up for…we should go for it, it is achievable!
As we begin to get in-sync with these parameters, we shall experience how things (that we perhaps would subconsciously talk to ourselves) would start falling in place; those extrinsic or external characteristics (money et al.) will all consequently come our way, and in a sustainable fashion.
Let the extrinsic parameters of success be an ‘outcome’ of our true wellbeing and not the ‘cost’ of our ‘false’ wellbeing.
Cofounder and CEO