Forget successful aging–focus on successful living

Lately, for some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about success in life. What it is? Who has it and who doesn’t? And who sets the criteria?
People have such different ideas about success. Some spell it $uccess. Some dilly-dally with it, never really defining it for themselves at all. And others back away from even using the word, putting it in a box with words like power, wealth, and influence–things you would never admit you want even if you do.
Nevertheless, we are a nation obsessed with success. If you don’t believe it, just go into a mega-bookstore and look at the titles that contain the words success or successful.
“Successful Aging.” “Secrets of Successful Web Sites.” “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management.” “Four Easy Steps to Successful Investing.”
Or how about “Five Wheels to Successful Sight-Seeing,” “Basic Steps to Successful Fasting & Prayer,” “Seven Secrets to Successful Apartment Leasing,” “Successful Gardening,” “The Eight Keys to Becoming Wildly Successful and Happy,” “Discover the Secrets of Successful Decorative Painting,” and “America’s Most Successful Cardiovascular Health Program.”
And who could take issue with any of them. Health, gardening, hobbies,
finances, religion, travel. These are the things that create meaning in our lives so how could we possibly want to fail at them?
But maybe the two most important books of all are “Success is a Journey” and “Success is a Choice.”
For success is indeed a journey–a journey we begin in childhood and continue to the end of life. And success also is a choice–a choice that easily can be turned into a habit.
Christopher Marley once wrote, “There is only one success–to be able to spend your life in your own way.” And that’s where the choice element comes in.
There are so many things to do in life–so many directions to take–that no one could possibly pursue every dream. The first step towards success is to decide what matters more to you than anything else.
It’s called goal-setting. And success or failure is the measure of how well you meet those goals.
The nicest thing about success is that it tends to repeat itself. Alexandre Dumas the Elder put it best a century and a half ago when he wrote, “Nothing succeeds like success.”
What’s why people this side of 60 are so well-positioned. We’ve had
experience. We’ve been successful at things we cared deeply about, and without question we can do it again.
The journey will continue. And if we don’t get sidetracked, the opportunities will be endless.
One of the pitfalls is to see aging itself as the goal and to focus on
successful aging. On the surface of it, successful aging sounds like a great goal. The only problem is you always get more of what you focus on.
Think about it. What do you want? Old age, or a garden? A new career? A new hobby? A college education? Financial success? A trip? New friends? Excellent health?
Famed movie producer Cecil B. DeMille advised, “Make a success of living by seeing the goal and aiming for it unswervingly.”
So why not forget about successful aging and take the first step towards successful living. Choose your goal today, and then spend the rest of your life on the journey towards it.
For no one is ever too old to be successful.

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