Success, what is it really?

I woke up this morning much like any other day, I got the cats fed, the coffee made, sat down at my computer to see if there is anything I need to jump into right away after a good weekend. The first thing I see is article about “How to Define Success”. Then I see another article about how to make more cash, and a third about the path to financial success. I haven’t even opened a browser yet.

Everything is flooding my eyes is all about making more money, getting cash in your pocket, being able to buy this or that, getting more out of life! That is as long as more is in regard to money that is. I will say that in our society today money is important, but only to a point.

Money is a means to an end. Money in and of itself is futile. You can’t eat it, it burns too fast to give you heat, yet we value it so much that it will get you food you can cook, it pays for the power you use to cook that food too. You have to pay for everything, yet everything you pay for is temporary. Your house, your car, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, all temporary.

If we take a moment to look at the few things that have lasted the longest, we will see a few physical things like the Great Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, but even those are decaying. They are just doing it slower than most things. Thoughts, ideas, philosophies, art, culture, classic music (of all types), these are the things that last.

So why is it we call success the accumulation of wealth? Whether you believe in life after death or not the truth is the same, you can’t take any of it with you when you die. The best you can do is to hope that you leave something behind that keeps you alive in the minds of someone. Lets admit it, most of us will never succeed in that beyond friends and family. So why do we spend so much time and effort away from that important but small group of people trying to make money? What makes it more important than they are?

The truth? It’s not. It’s only money.

Today I have completed 55 years on this planet. In that time I have made some money, spent most of it, I have had a number of careers, and even more jobs. But I honestly haven’t done anything so amazing that I will be remembered for any great length of time. At least not that I am aware of.

So am I successful? More so in the last few years than at any other time in my life I would say yes. Today I put value in things much more important than money. Since my mother passed away a few years ago I have learned the value of every word I say, every thought and relationship I have. Since the passing of my stepsister just a few weeks ago, and all the friends before her that died long before their time, I have learned the value of time.

Time, words, relationships, and even the “L” word; love. These are the things that define success after we are gone, after the house is re-sold, all the ‘toys’ are gone, and all that money is spent.

The images below are a few that touch me somehow, images that mean something to me. Hopefully they will live beyond me, hopefully they will touch you in a way that helps you create something timeless. Take time to do, say, or create something that will stand the test of time. In other words, be truly successful. Be you.