My Definition Of Success

There are hundreds of keys to success. In my understanding, success is the ability to manifest your values in life.

It’s that simple.

Values, however, can vary greatly. They are not just some abstract ideas, and are more tangible than it may seem. A value is your understanding of what is important to your own self. For example, wealth, growth, family, self-actualization, serving others, etc.

People act on their values and beliefs. They set goals based on their values. They buy things based on their values. They choose hobbies and who to communicate with based on these same values. Besides, every single day gives an opportunity to realize values.

As already mentioned, values can be different, and this is totally OK. For example, my two guiding sets are the three values by Viktor Frankl (creation, perception, attitude), and the Indian four temples (material well-being, joy, public service, spiritual growth). In fact, these two approaches have much in common.

What is important, we have to continuously realize our values to be successful. It’s not something that just happens. It’s a never-ending process.

So what happens in the long run?

If we manage to adhere to our values and act on our beliefs, we make our lives meaningful.

To sum up, success is the ability to make one’s life meaningful via implementing his or her values.

One Cannot Change The Length Of His Life

But one can change the depth.

Leonardo Da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Albert Einstein, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs and many more had 24 hours in a day like we have.

The only difference is that they used their time wisely. Their talents, perspiration and persistence multiplied by time brought the results we all know.

Yet an average man today prefers to spend his time in unproductive and meaningless activities.

I believe that successful men always use their time effectively. Proper time management is a key to success.

Only by managing our time wisely can we reach our goals, achieve self-actualization, and enjoy our lives to the fullest without regret.

They say time is money. Well, time is much more than money.

If you want to learn more about time management, feel free to consult my free training materials here.

Three Types of Values That Make Life Meaningful

According to Viktor Frankl, man’s search for and realization of his meaning of life is an embedded motivational tendency. This goes in line with Abraham Maslow’s idea of self-actualization.

Yet Viktor Frankl, the author of the famous Man’s Search for Meaning, goes further and defines three sets of values, which are ways to make one’s life meaningful.

Each individual has and can find his own meaning of life. Through the below values this meaning, sense, and purpose can be manifested.

The first way is what we give to the world. This is is the value of creativity and creative work. The idea of creative work is about what one does above his assigned work duties; what he brings to his work environment as an individual.

The value of creativity is an important and natural one, yet not indispensable. Sometime one single experience, a flash of a moment can make life meaningful. This is the second way – what we take from the world.

Frankl highlights love as the most important of such experiences. Yet someone who has never loved and hasn’t been loved can still make his life meaningful.

And this is when the third type of values comes into play – the values of attitude, i.e. our attitude towards situations or destinies we cannot change. Men exercise these values when they find themselves under circumstances which seem insurmountable.

As soon as we introduce this last category of values to our existence, our lives can no longer be meaningless.

Our lives remain meaningful until the very last breath.

Other posts on Viktor Frank’s Man’s Search for Meaning:

Where Space for Growth Lies
Death Makes Life Meaningful
Heredity And Environment Vs. Will and Action
Knowledge Vs. Wisdom

Be A Champion

The song “Hall Of Fame” by “The Script” is like a mantra for finding a purpose in life. Perhaps this is why it has over 160 million hits now on YouTube.

Somehow we feel intuitively that the essence of life is fulfilling your mission by finding a cause you love and dedicating yourself wholeheartedly to it.

This is one of the best songs ever.

Be students
Be teachers
Be politicians
Be preachers

Be believers
Be leaders
Be astronauts
Be champions
Be truth seekers

More Scary Than Death

I am not afraid to die.

Perhaps this sounds way too bold, stupid or banal. Yet this is true. I got rid of the fear of death (and believe everybody can do the same) once I have embraced two things.

First, everybody dies. This is one of the laws of life in the Universe.

And second, death is not the end, but a transformation. A caterpillar mutating into a butterfly does not really end its existence. Well, it does in a way, but not exactly.

Perhaps I am afraid to die in a stupid way, like in a car accident or something. But what really scares the pants off me is to die without fulfilling a meaningful purpose and using your potential.

And most people don’t succeed in this.

How many musicians are lost because their talents are not discovered? How many writers give up on their creative works because their books are not published? How many businesses close down because they can’t catch up with competitors? How many inventors pass their lives unnoticed because they fail to attract sponsors? How many world leaders are not developed because their voices are not heard?

These types of questions will never be answered because we will never know the truth. Yet apparently the truth sucks – most people fail to fulfill their mission. Those who do become great men.

If everybody used his potential to the fullest, each of the 8 billion human beings on Earth would be great. Each of us would be in the hall of fame.

What we have instead is a situation when roughly 5% of the world follow their calling and reach the life maximum, while the rest is busy with something else.

Is this sad? Or perhaps fair?

I don’t know. What I do know though is that the world would change drastically and would be a much better place to live in if everyone used his time in a meaningful way.

And our time is very limited.

So death is not a scary thing. A death after a useless life is.

What to do?

Rudyard Kipling and Steve Jobs gave some good pieces of advice on this:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And — which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.

Interstellar (2014): The Story of the Farmer Who ‘Made It’

“My father was a farmer”.

This is how a newly-released space adventure movie Interstellar begins. Not a typical start for a presumably another Hollywood science fiction blockbuster, is it?

Well, perhaps because the movie is rather a drama, not a sci-fi action. Directed by Chistopher Nolan, an accomplished director known for his intellectual and thought-provoking works, including hits like Inception and Memento, Interstellar offers a colourful mosaic of planetary challenges, interstellar travels, human choice and sacrifice, thrilling action, philosophical dialogues, dense physical theory and science, intellectual puzzle and love drama, humor, stunning visual effects and epic music. And all of these elements were put really nicely together to form a strong and decent movie that is absolutely worth watching.

I don’t want to talk much about the plot here which does not seem to be that original at first glance (although it gets like a roller coaster as the movie unfolds). According to the story a former NASA pilot Cooper, a father of two teenage kids, is set on a mission to find another planet for our mankind that faces extinction due to the dust bowl causing drastic shortages of crops and food on Earth. But what is really interesting is what drives the main character’s decisions.

A qualified engineer and a pilot, Cooper is forced to be a farmer, and so will be his children. Yet as a scientist he maintains his insatiable thirst for exploration:

We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.

And this is one the movie’s most important spots – the idea that we have a higher mission and need to strive for it no matter how life treats us. Not only a collective space exploration mission like shown in Interstellar, but also an individual mission or life calling for each of us.

Cooper chooses to go on his mission, no matter how hard the sacrifice of leaving the family behind is; no matter how scary the chances of not coming back may be. Indeed, it takes courage to pursue your dreams.

The second central thought of the movie, in my opinion, and which is also linked to the fist one, is that human beings have a stunning capacity for adapting to literally anything and performing well in extreme situations. Coopers’ response to the co-pilot’s “This is not possible.” is “No. It’s necessary.”

I strongly believe – and this is what the film’s director reveals too – that we all have hidden super powers. One of our goals on Earth is to try to utilize as much of that capacity as possible. And a way to do so is keep challenging ourselves, keep the inner fire burning:

We’ve always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we’ve just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we’ve barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.

Last but not least, one of the brightest contentions in Interstellar is:

Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.

The movie depicts a love line between Cooper and his female co-pilot Brand. Yet I believe the director’s message was deeper than that.

We are all connected, one way or another, and the Earth is our common home.