person at the top of a mountain pointing to the sky

WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?

Success has different meanings for different people.

However, it is mostly associated with the individualistic idea of becoming number one, i.e. being the best, as explained by Chris Kukk, Professor of Political Science and Social Science at Western Connecticut State University and author of The Compassionate Achiever.

In today's society, which is becoming more and more competitive, success is by far defined by how much money you have in your bank account, how many likes you have on your social media, what social class you belong to.

Whether it is pharmaceutical companies contending for vaccine patents, Governments competing for new territories, colleges fighting to have more students, students competing for the best marks, or colleagues contending for the next level in the social ladder, we can find competition literally everywhere.

No person, field or industry, or company is exempt from this intensely competitive environment.

What’s the price?

Competition can be useful as it pushes us to give our best to achieve our goals and beyond, but it can be detrimental.

  • Firstly it can get in the way of enjoying the journey of pursuing your goals.

woman by the side of a swimming pool enjoying sunset

How can you enjoy a journey if you are in a haste to get to your destination as soon as possible?

As I wrote in my past post - SUCCESS IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION - INSPIRING STORY -  there is never a finish line, once we achieve something, another goal takes over from the previous one. 

That’s why the journey is the real treasure and that’s why we cannot afford to be too obsessed with what we are trying to achieve.

It all comes down to living the present moment.

  • Secondly, being competitive can make people selfish, and just concerned about their own interests and results, even at the expense of other people’s.

Two businessmen cartoons pull rope at edge of cliff concept: Business competition

  • Finally, this grueling level of competition can affect our health, and turn us off balance.

over stressed business man cartoon in a rush

We often hear about managers who burn out due to the prolonged stress caused by too much work.

Or about students who get depressed because of the enormous amount of hours spent studying and who use drugs to be more focused and perform better.

Is competition really worth it? 

  • Can you feel successful if you miss the journey towards your destination?
  • Can you feel successful if your actions negatively affect others?
  • Can you feel successful if you put your own health at risk?

I don’t believe so.

It’s high time we challenged the belief that to be successful we must be number one.

We must find an alternative path to success, a path based on different, altruistic principles, such as compassion and kindness.

In his book, the Compassionate Achiever, Chris Kukk, shows how compassion, altruism, and kindness are the key ingredients to succeeding and becoming fulfilled.

As Chris says:

“Being committed to helping others not only improves others’ lives; it can transform our own”.

In his book he reveals the profound benefits of practicing compassion; from building solid lasting relationships to improving intelligence, to increasing resiliency.

What’s more, it has been shown that being compassionate increases our general well-being.

As a matter of fact, when we are compassionate oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin are released in the bloodstream.

This makes us feel happier and more optimistic.

As a result, we have higher chances to achieve our goals.

As Chris says:

“Compassion is the foundation for success”.

The world definitely needs more than just achievers.

The world needs compassionate achievers, people who achieve success by helping others by doing good to them and to themselves too.

“Compassionate achievers challenge the notion that you have to look out for number one in order to be number one”. - Chris Kukk 

Here's a recent event where two competitors, Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi decide to share  the gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Barshim from Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi from Italy celebrating on the track after the final of the men's high jump

IMAGINE if everyone was running their own race in life, but cheering and helping others at the same time.

It would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

Way too often we expect other people to change.

However, my own experience has taught me that it’s better if I change first.

We have no power over others, but we can change ourselves and inspire others to do the same through our actions.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”. - Mahatma Gandhi

I want to encourage and challenge you to be more compassionate and kind towards your fellow human beings no matter who they are.

Support people who may need to be lifted up, who may need your inspiration, your presence, your time.

Give them a hand!

hikers helping each other climb up a rock in nature

The world needs you!

The world needs people like you, role models that can inspire others to do the same and make the world a better place.

Have you ever met someone who really offered their help and support to you when you needed it without any strings attached?

If so, how did you feel?

If you are anything like me, you felt understood and valued. 

What if there were more people like that?

What if you were one of those people inspiring others through your own actions?

COMPASSION spreads like a virus.

One teacher’s compassion unleashes one student’s potential!

When you lift someone up, that person does good to those they come into contact with. 

YOU can make a big difference in the world!

Sometimes success is not about winning, being the first one who cuts the finish line, the first one who gets a promotion; in other words, it’s not about competing.

Sometimes success is about the person we become.

“No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is everything”

. - Unknown

The following video is a straightforward example of what being a successful person means to me.

We all run our own race, i.e. our LIFE.

However, it’s not important to come first in the race; what really matters is how we run the race and what kind of people we become through the actions we take.

No one has ever made themselves great by showing how small another is. 

What are you going to do?

Are you going to focus only on your needs ignoring other people’s or are you going to commit yourself to being more compassionate? 

Will you be the lighthouse that inspires others to make this world a better place?

two people celebrating at the top of a mountain

I hope this post has touched a chord in your heart and inspired you to show up to others and yourself in a more compassionate way. 

Christian Caliendo
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3 thoughts on “WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?”

  1. A beautiful and touching post.
    When I read this post , you Christian came to mind as one that helps and supports with’ no strings’..
    I am blown away with things that you have supported with me and continue to do so with care and compassion.
    I hope that I too am and give wholeheartedly to others the way you do.

    I also sometimes get caught up in the end result…, not to be better than anyone else or compete with anyone but I guess the striving to become better than I was yesterday sometimes can take away the fun on the journey.
    One can sometimes forget the journey never ends, we become better than we were but we can keep going and develop further on our journey and lean to enjoy the ups and downs that happen along the way and hopefully impact positively on others too 😊

    1. I am more than sure that you already give a lot to others Christine, and as you become better during your journey you will also inspire others through your own example and story.
      Let’s give ourselves permission to enjoy the journey we are on, reminding ourselves how important seizing the PRESENT MOMENT and EACH STEP we take actually is. Let’s celebrate each target achieved even the smallest one, it will help us enjoy the journey 🙂

  2. This was a very inspiring post – I thoroughly agree with the importance of compassion, and the video of the runners were really moving, and brought home the message.

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