This idea is very prevalent in our North American culture.
Success is what makes you happy, what feels good to you and what makes you feel good.
A colleague of mine, John Calabria, a yoga instructor, recently interviewed Robin DeSantis, a young woman who spent three and a half years in the Dominican Republic with the Peace Corps. When she returned to the States, she was asked a very common question, "What do you do?" It is a valid question, but perhaps one that doesn't really give the full picture of who we are, what our passions, talents, interests and loves are: how we contribute our gifts and calling in the world.
Robin reflected on the question she was asked by saying,
"Next, I had to come up with a creative answer to the ever-popular question, “What do you do?” Sure, it’s a safe conversation starter, but I hadn’t had to answer that question in a while and wasn’t prepared to answer it in one short sentence.
Generally speaking, Dominicans are more concerned with the health and happiness of one’s family or the condition of one’s garden, while Americans tend to be more curious as to a person’s profession, perhaps because work consumes much (arguably too much) of our time."
I really love her response that "Dominicans are more concerned with the health and happiness of their family and/or the condition of their gardens." This resonates strongly with me. Getting back to the basics of family, good food and nutrition and the health and happiness of the family has served many ancient cultures well. They may not have achieved our present day material wealth, but that's not what their idea of success is/was. Being happy, peaceful, having food to eat, having good relations with their family members, relative low stress, being close to nature - these things ranked higher on their success meter than possessions and material wealth.
And John also commented on this in his interview by saying:
"I love what you shared about Dominicans being concerned about health and the wellness of their garden. We have that here at the Stow Community Gardens (in Stow, MA), where the customary greeting is: ‘How’s it growing?’"
Now I'm not saying material wealth is bad or should not be a goal. I'm simply asking:
What is your idea of success or perhaps Happiness?
One more quote to leave you with:
"Success is Not Final,
Failure is Not Fatal:
It is the courage to continue
that Counts." -Winston Churchill
You can read the full interview between John and Robin at www.yogawithjohn.com
December 23, 2014