The starting point of life is the pursuit of happiness. Now let us investigate how to attain happiness. We have already learned that one element of happiness is how we are perceived by others. It may be regarded as a sign of success to be considered a likable person. It is certainly true that this aspect is one of the elements of success. Only when you are received as a likable, wonderful or respectable person, it is possible to say that you are successful.
But the elements of success are not determined by rumors about you or your reputation. What is essential is whether or not you feel joy in the depths of your heart. In this sense, there is a countless number of people who live lonely and dreary lives although, externally, they may be engaged in reputable professional activities or may possess impressive titles or positions in society. In fact, the number of people who are submerged in unhappiness is great.
The moment when your inner yearnings do not conflict with others’ opinions of you is when you feel you are successful. While you get joy from what you are trying to do or what you want to do, or from your present work itself,you can gain other people’s positive evaluation; such is a truly desirable situation.
We should not, therefore, seek success only in how others evaluate us. At the outset, we must search our minds deeply to clearly determine what we are truly seeking, what kind of people we want to become, what kind of life would most satisfy us and how we could live satisfactory lives without anyone’s approval. We need to think over these things calmly. Without showing off, without the need to stand out, let us honestly ask ourselves what kind of life is truly meaningful.
When contemplating such a life, we can use the following points for reference:First,do we have strong inner yearnings? Second, if we do, and live lives in accordance with that inner yearning, is our work valuable to other people? Is it good for society? Third,will we be respected and gain a good reputation for the work we do?
As we have seen, true success consists of these three elements. First, it must be in accordance with one’s inner yearning. Second, the work, action and life based on that inner yearning must be socially valuable. Third, as a result, true success must provide you with respect or praise for your deeds.
It happens often that one’s happiness is derived from the joy of others. Therefore, success is: 1)your happiness, 2)the happiness of others, and 3)an objective acceptance of the first two.
It is important for us to approach a discussion of success in an analytic, stage-by-stage and progressive manner.
(Excerpts from “The Rules of Prosperity”)