We have as many different answers to this question as there are people in the world. So let's provide a paradigm for success that works for every single one of them, with no one, and nothing, left out.
Is success how much money we have? Or how many people love us? Maybe, how many people we know? Is success the attainment of wealth, fame, or fortune? Popularity then? Perhaps a loving family? Being at the top rung of an imagined corporate or government ladder? For all of our definitions of success, they all seem to center around the number of things, regardless of what that number represents. It could even be the number of friends we have. Attainment, accumulation, and abundance, also seem to be words describing our customary definition of success. So why the great debate over the correct form and number of things required for us to then consider ourselves as being successful? This debate rages for one reason only. It rages because success isn't any of these numbers, kinds, or amounts of things, that are all exterior to ourselves, not at all, and this is why: Success isn't what comes to you, but what comes out of you.
This simple quote is even simpler to practice. For instance, in relationship to the relationships you have in your life, success defined in this way, would mean that it's more important how many smiles you give, than how many you get back. And to do this regardless of the true nature of giving, which is that you always get back more than you gave anyway. It's a limitless Universe, after all. Therefore, success, when defined in this manner, means that the means, methods, and manifestations, surrounding our particular form of success, all matter less, than how we go about achieving it. From the online seminar I do with participants, the invited suggestion is to always carry out our plan for success by telling the truth now, telling the truth later, and in doing so, our success becomes authentic, real, and satisfying. So many people, try to become successful, through the attainment of things, which in and of itself, is no problem, but to think that this attainment of numbers or kinds or things, regardless of the way we managed to acquire them, is going to have us feel deep inside that we are successful, is sheer madness. I know. I have done it myself.
The area of relationship seems to be one of the most coveted areas where people desire success within, yet are constantly frustrated in achieving it. Their frustration comes from one source, and one source only. They are not following the practice of the maxim that success isn't what comes to you, but what comes out of you. The one major problem most people have a hard time handling in marriage, or a long term committed relationship of any kind, all of which are the epitome of a face to face, day by day, relationship, is that they are usually in it for what they can get. Affection, love, caring, support, meals cooked and travel booked, isn't a spouse or partner just great for these numbers and kinds of things? Well, they can be, but that's not what they signed up in life for. They signed up to have their needs met, and so did we. But here's the kicker. When we are so taking care of ourselves, what happens is that taking care of others becomes second nature to us. So we have to first apply the giving law to ourselves and make certain that our thoughts, our bodies, our minds, and our souls, are fed, nurtured, and well maintained. And then! Look out world, this is where you get what you have always wanted! The perfect relationship! Love and service with a smile. The one I give out then becomes the one I live out.
Just look into your own relationship and see if this isn't true. You have expectations of your partner's behavior. Rules, issues, and upsets. But what, really, are those rules, issues, and upsets, all about? They're about getting what we want, not giving what is needed. And what is needed isn't something that's so complicated that we even need to "figure it out." We don't. What's needed is always right in front of our faces. Look into the faces of those around you, and if they're not smiling, then something is needed there, from you. Sometimes it's a kind word, an expression of love, and at others it really is vanilla ice cream. Or chocolate. Because what you give out, you live out. Every time.