I have been thinking recently of what being successful means to me. I have never really put a lot of stock in what other people think of me, at least not consciously. I guess I have always been more concerned about what I think of me; and perhaps that’s worse, because we’re always our own toughest critic.
Success and happiness do tend to intertwine themselves as ideas. Vaporous ideas without real form or solid meaning. To a certain extent there’s not much point chasing after the ether, but then again it’s the pursuit that counts.
As mentioned yesterday, I have cut out the most pernicious of the (anti) social media entirely. Large bugbear – why is it so difficult to delete (rather than just deactivate) Facebook and its sibling Instagram? (Rhetorical question. Once you’re in, they own you for life). Kudos to Twitter for (apparently) deleting deactivated accounts after 30 days. It’s interesting that, without the Pavlovian stimuli of those apps, my desire to waste heaps of time clicking randomly around the Internet is greatly diminished. Wish I’d never got in; glad I’ve never been a power user of any of the networks; disturbed how easily I got sucked in and how stressed out it made me feel. I have gone down this path before, of course, and I’ve always gone back. I’m determined not to relapse this time.
One of the biggest reasons for this is that I simply can’t afford to waste more time. I have a business to run, stories to tell, things to create, a home to help build. A horse to take care of. A family to pay attention to and to love. I don’t need to be pulled in a million other directions at once. I don’t need to feed my brain to some hungry hive mind.
The question best asked is: at the end of this year, what will make me look back with a smile and say, I succeeded?
It may all come down to habits. The habit of rising early, the habit of eating healthfully, the habit of focusing deeply, the habit of listening closely, the habit of loving respectfully, the habit of sleeping soundly.
What might this look like?
- Waking early, and feeling excited about the day.
- Getting a little exercise in, every morning.
- Working on discrete projects with absolute concentration, and always having a clear path to achieving goals.
- Never glancing at my phone, magazine or book while in the attentive presence of others.
- Practicing kindness and respect every day.
- Going to sleep at the same time most nights, and waking at the same time most mornings.
There you have it – almost two weeks into the new year, and I finally have a set of resolutions to work on. I like them all. And even a small improvement in each of these areas will make an already amazing life incrementally better, and will turn 2018 into a beautiful success.