What is true success?

On television we see people from third world countries wjo seem to be smiling from their hearts and souls, but not necessarily from their mouths.

by Cary Bailen — 

We are bombarded every day with society’s definition of success — a thin body, lots of money, a high-ranking job, graduating college, achieving the status of a professional athlete or actor, or maybe even touching the moon. These are all successful and important achievements in life; nevertheless, they are of the material world and outside of us.

What people do not realize is that many of those who fit into these various categories of success are still very unhappy. My questions are, “How can we be successful, if we are not even happy?” And, “What is true success?”

We have all read numerous books and attended workshops about ways to intend, create and manifest success. Occasionally we have been able to actually implement what we have learned, but what I am now discovering is unlike anything I have ever learned through these teachings. There is nothing outside of me that can truly make me happy. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do except be. Personally, that is the true measure of success I want to attain.

Additionally, being is the only place from which we can truly create. There is no ego involved, only the true self. Make no mistake about it — things do matter, and they are important, to a certain extent. But ultimately, things will not make you happy.

I am reminded of this when I see television shows depicting people from third world countries, in the midst of pain and suffering, with absolutely no material support. These people seem to be smiling from their hearts and souls, but not necessarily from their mouths. They aren’t masking their pain, as we habitually do.

They are survivors. They have learned to pull strength from a place so deep and pure within them that they exude happiness, peace and harmony amidst the cruelest environments. They are inspiring. To me, these people are an example of true success. It is humbling to view the interviews with these warriors.

The next time you question your own success, ask yourself this, “Is anything outside of myself truly going to make me happy in the long run?” The answer may be yes, temporarily, but not for the long haul. To be truly happy, you must grow your spirit and develop happiness within your soul. Once you find it, that happiness can never be lost — and it is what true success really means.


Cary Bailen, B.A., has taught health education for more than 10 years and is the founder of Kidz for Life, which offers custom-tailored nutrition training and health education programs for individuals, families, groups and schools. 602-751-0012, www.kidzforlife.com or cebplh@yahoo.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 3, June/July 2006.

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