September 13

Life is made up of small pleasures.
Happiness is made up of those tiny
successes.  The big ones come too
infrequently.  And if you don't collect
all these tiny successes, the big ones
don't really mean anything.

Norman Lear


Today's Meditation:

I've known too many people who have made themselves miserable because they've believed that they should be accomplishing the big things in life that are recognized by many, many people if their lives are to mean anything.  They berate themselves for not measuring up, for not "succeeding," even when they've accomplished many things that other people would be proud of.

"Tiny successes" mean much more to me.  These are the kinds of successes that build on themselves and each other, the kind that add up in the end to a successful life.  Putting in a new faucet in the kitchen, helping a friend to do something important, getting a plant to grow, making a loved one feel good about him or herself, getting that promotion at work, setting goals and reaching them, losing those ten pounds--and setting a goal for ten more instead of starting with a goal for twenty--all of these things are small successes with which we can decorate each day of our lives.

I do like to see Olympic athletes win gold medals, and I do like to see authors sell millions of copies, and I do like to see what we call the "bigger" successes.  But think about it for a moment:  Most of what we consider to be huge successes in our society have to do with entertainment (singers, writers, actors) or sports than anything else.  And given the nature of those fields, there are relatively few people who can be great successes in them--and most of us aren't even in those fields to begin with.

In our own fields, in our own lives, we have plenty of opportunities for success.  We must acknowledge and appreciate the smaller successes so that we can build on them and grow as people and allow ourselves to reach new levels of success.  Otherwise, we're kind of squandering our opportunities to see ourselves as successful people, and our chances to be happy with what we do and how we do it.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many in our society see success as being strictly financial, or based on fame?  Is that really what success is limited to?

What kinds of small successes have you achieved in the last six months?  In the last year? 

What are some of the small pleasures that are most dear to you?

For further thought:

Most people see success as being rich and famous or powerful and influential.  Others see it as being at the top of their profession and standing out from the rest.
   The wise see success in a more personal way; they see it as achieving the goals they have set for themselves, and then feeling pride and satisfaction in their accomplishments.  True success is felt in the heart, not measured by money and power.
   So be true to yourself and achieve those goals you set.  For success is reaching those goals and feeling proud of what you have accomplished.

Tim Tweedie

More on success.


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