This is my latest contribution published on the Huffington Post. Read it here.

The statement ‘life is what you make it’ has become so cliched that perhaps there’s very little I can say to give it new life. But I like challenges, so I’m going to try.

When we think about our best life, we often think about sitting in the lap of luxury and enjoying the finer things in life money can buy. But I am here to tell you, while those things are awesomely great, they are not the be-all and end-all of a happy life.

I’m sure many before me have said it and those who have lived it are shaking their heads and saying ‘next’ but I’m of the firm belief that the following will leave you with some food for thought, if not change your perspective on life.

I’m no psychologist or guru on life and mine is not perfect, however I’ve proven these concepts to be true in my life and many people have been able to relate.

While material things give us a great feeling of comfort and empowerment, the feeling is fleeting. Many times that feeling of comfort and empowerment is in our heads. Take it away and replace it with true and lasting happiness, peace, contentment and success, what are you left with? Yes, your best life.

But where are those things found?

Sometimes we spend so much time working (in jobs we don’t have a passion for, half the time with people we are not fond of and/or who are not fond of us) and get so caught up in what society deems as success (the position/power/money), that we lose our sense of self and purpose.

When we get home, we have little time (and energy) left for the things that bring us real joy and peace, because the routine and the race to the finish line consumes us to no end.

We pretend to be happy and fake it with (some of) our friends and colleagues and the only people who know the truth are our family. We forget about our real passions and the things that make our hearts sing.

A photo by London Scout. unsplash.com/photos/4-gFGb12hFA

Like that hobby/passion we forgot we once loved as a child.

Like that spark that ignited your heart when you first met your one true love.

Like coming home early to play a game with your children.

And all those things you used to do before you settled into your comfort zone of perceived success.

Food for thought.

Success it not measured by what your neighbour is doing on social media or two houses down. It is not measured by the size of your bank account or how large and well-groomed your lawn is.

It is not measured by what school your kids go to or how many activities they are enrolled in (because back in the day many of us were happy with 1 or 2 and we turned out just fine).

But don’t get me wrong, these things are by-products or perks of living your best life…if-and-only-if, it truly makes you and those around you happier and better for it in the end.

Success and true happiness is relative. It means different things to different people. And it is perfectly okay if my idea of happiness and success is writing books, blogs and articles while traveling the world and speaking about what I write.

And if your idea of happiness and success is working in a skyscraper in the busy city hub in a large corporation with your name engraved in gold on the door.

And it’s okay if success and happiness for the gal next next to me in line at the bank is to be a stay-at-home mom and wife and the best version she could possibly be, while doing do-it-yourself projects around the house.

This is all fine. But we must stay true to ourselves and not let anyone shake our sense of worth for wanting what we want.

For me, lasting success and happiness comes when you maximize your full potential and share your gifts and talents to uplift hearts and make someone’s life a little easier or happier. It’s even more fulfilling when you bring about change and transformation to their life and the world, one person at a time starting with yourself.

It’s not about getting lost in the “likes” and the attention and the fame, but rather quality connections over quantity as you discern the authentic from the fake.

Perfection is an illusion, we are all works-in-progress. No man can judge us. We would however be rewarded by our deeds and our service to humanity. This will be manifested in our lives by the abundance we attract over and over again.

Carolyn K. Correia is the author of Thinking out Loud, How To Find Yourself and Claim What’s Yours and she missed the boat on love. She is also a communications consultant, freelance writer, blogger and motivational speaker. Learn more here www.carolyncorreia.com or stay updated on Facebook – CarolynCorreiaAuthor.

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