THE BLOG

What Defines Success?

29/12/2015 10:39 GMT | Updated 29/12/2016 10:12 GMT

I used to think it was money.

How many of you, honestly, measure your success based on the paycheck you take home every month? Striving for that promotion, to earn more money, which, evidently will make you 'happier'?

But is this really success? Constantly striving to up your pay bracket, to live in a bigger house and drive a slightly more expensive car, only to retire with a Rolex on your wrist and a second home in the south of France.

See, up until recently, I thought that this was success. Working long hours and enjoying the ever-shortening weekends, to live for the end of the month only to spend most of my money in the first few days and then wait all over again.

Yet something in my life changed this year. Something that made me see the world differently.

As I write this, I sit looking at an MBE. Not mine, I may add. This MBE belonged to a man who dedicated his life to helping others with HIV and AIDS. He dedicated his existence to ensuring that in a future, far beyond him, people could live longer and happier lives. This man, Robert, was successful.

Not because of the amount of money he had in his bank account, the watch he had on his wrist or even the seemingly 'nice' lifestyle he lived. This man was successful because he spent his life, not striving to earn a few extra pound in his pocket, but to ensure that people affected by a terrible disease lived longer, happier lives.

Lives they could use to spend another day with a loved one. Lives they could use to tick another thing off their bucket list and lives, that could go on to somehow change the world we live in today. All because one man made it his mission to ensure they could.

See, to me - that's success.

I've stopped looking at 'that pair of shoes' I must have. That new gadget I 'can't' live without, because frankly, those fads come and go. Those things I had to have last week are yesterday's news and in all honesty, did they make a damn little difference to my life?

No, they didn't.

But knowing that you've made a difference to somebody else's life - that stays with you a lifetime.

Here's a crazy thought - what if we all shifted our perception of success away from money?

What if, we learnt from a young age, that it's not the education that will get you a degree and the degree that will get you a good job and a good job that will get you a mortgage and so on; but that we learn to help, care and be kind.

What if we learnt, that if we use our passion and skills, we could change the world.

If we were taught that someday, each and every one of us will do something to help make this world a better place for the next generation. That no matter how small our deed, it contributes to a better tomorrow.

A tomorrow where people don't have to live with cancer.

A tomorrow where people don't lose brothers at war.

A tomorrow where people don't get stabbed in the streets and a tomorrow, which is happier, healthier and safer for us all.

Maybe I'm being too much of a fantasist, I get told that a lot. But when you sit and look at an MBE, awarded to a man who did something good in the world, because he dared to dream - you can't help but look up to the sky and start dreaming yourself.

So instead of walking into 2016 wanting fortune through happiness - look for happiness inside and see where that adventure takes you. Because I guarantee it will change your life, and others, for the better.