Are you successful?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Success

Success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What is success and how would you know if you were successful?

Success is a slippery thing to catch hold of. When you say successful, most people think first of how much money someone makes. Money and success are not synonymous. Think about all those famous people, actors, and musicians, that had the fame and the money but their life still ended up a disaster.

A few readers have responded to some past counselorssoapbox.com posts about success by telling me they did not care about being a success because they were not all about money. In my thinking money and success are not the same thing, but for some people, the thinking link between these two ideas is so strong they equate pursuing a goal other than money as not wanting to be “successful.” Some folks just can’t imagine being successful without having a pile of money. That seems sad to me.

People who live a good life, they are successful in my book. People who only have money and fame, eventually that goes away. It may come as a surprise to those who say they are not about money, that people who live a good life and have a proper relationship with money do not have to live in poverty to be a good person.

Successes are about achieving your potential. It is the result of being the best possible you rather than having the most other stuff.

Below are some ways to tell if you are living a successful life that is not dependent on how much you have in the bank or how many followers you have. Living a life of purpose and fulfillment is the best form of successes to my way of thinking.

How many of these ways are you successful?

You have good social skills – you get along with people

Highly successful people are able to get along with others. They enjoy diverse people and can interact with others regardless of that other person’s characteristics. Really successful people treat others well and do not need to feel better than others to feel ok about themselves.

You look forward to your day

If you hate what you are doing and dread going to work, you may have piles of money, but your life is a failure. If you love what you do and look forward to each new day you are living a life of purpose. People who hate what they do each day eventually find that no amount of money is worth giving up their precious time. Ultimately they quit that job or their mind makes them ill to protect them from doing that unpleasant task.

You have a future

The successful life is headed towards something, not lugging a load of things after you. Today should not be the end of everything. If you find you think that nothing in your life will ever get better, that life is just something you have to endure, then you are in no way a success.

You value learning

People who love learning can find something new to learn every day. When learning is a chore, a drudgery that you do only because you have to, your world grows smaller and less joyous. Money does not compensate you for an unhappy life. A jubilant life is a great reward in and of itself. People who live a satisfying life are a pleasure to be around and they attract others of like mind to them.

You treat people well

People who feel good about themselves do not need to treat others poorly. One sign that you feel like a success is the way you treat others. If you need to put others down and act rudely that says a lot about how you feel about yourself. You may be able to buy compliance with fear or money but to truly have others care about you takes more. It takes treating others the way you would want to be treated and then some.

You help others – being of service

People who are successful think from a place of abundance. They have enough and they can afford to part with some. People who are stingy and selfish think that anything they part with diminishes them.

You are truly successful when you think of what you can do for others to be of service.

Setbacks do not end your progress

Every road has bumps, some larger than others. If a single setback throws you off course your success is not very secure. Highly successful people have failures and setbacks. Those obstacles do not define them. They are successful because they believe they are. For them, success is the opportunity to pursue their dreams, not the number of dollars they get paid for the things they did.

You have learned to control yourself

A rich person with no control can make a failure of themselves in short order. If you have learned self-control, some portion of it anyway, you can count that you have made some progress on your journey to being a successful person.

You keep improving

Success is about using your gifts and developing your talents to become a better you. No amount of having should get in the way of your journey to being the person you would like to be.

There is something you care about

A life of passion is a successful life. If you care about something you can commit to it and that gives your life meaning. How much money you will leave behind to others who only care about you for the dollars does not impart any meaning to a life.

The great deeds of heroes and average people are fueled by deep passions for the things that mattered most to them.

You have learned to wait for the good things – patience

Patience is not only a virtue it is the reward of a successful life. When you have the peace of mind to be able to wait for things you are in a place of having what you need rather than chasing the wants of life.

You believe in yourself

If you need more of anything to feel you are acceptable you have not reached your fulfillment. Believing in yourself is a clear reflection that you are living your life in a fruitful way.

You do not need others approval to feel good about yourself. Your past is not controlling your present. Self-esteem is not about what you have it is about who you are.

You are able to freely make choices

Indecision is the opposite of a successful life. People who feel good about where they are can easily make choices. If you need others approval so much you bend your choices to please them you have not become all you might be.

You are able to accept help

Successful people know that everyone has the ability to make a contribution and they can easily accept help from others. If you feel the need to do everything yourself then you do not yet feel successful.

You spend your time on things that matter to you

If you are so short on time that it all needs to be spent on things and on pleasing others you are still poor in emotional terms. When you have the time to pursue things that matter to you then you have reached success regardless of the number of dollars in your bank account.

You see the good not the bad in people and situations.

The failure sees failure everywhere they look. For them, the world is a dark and gloomy place. Successful people can see the good in others and the possibilities in life.

How many of these traits of a successful life have you cultivated?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Important Peoples Day

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

president

Important peoples day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Which important people are you celebrating today?

President of the USA

Can you spot the President?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Today is a holiday here in the United States of America. We are celebrating the birthdays of two of our more famous American Presidents. More on that to come. But it occurs to me that many of you readers are all over the world in countries other than the United States and that probably you are not celebrating the same two important people we are. I wanted to include all of you in my thoughts about why some people become important and get days to celebrate them.

Personally, I think that there are a lot of deserving people who have not gotten a day. Why this day and these two people? This day, called Presidents Day here in the United States is to celebrate two past presidents, Mr.’s Washington and Lincoln, sort of, sometimes.

I suppose that one reason I am musing about this thing called presidents day and how a particular president does or does not get a day has to do with a client who came to see me recently. This particular client was feeling down because at their age, they were feeling that they had not accomplished all that much. From my perspective, this person is relatively young, but then these days everyone is looking young to me. Lest you get any wrong ideas that I am violating confidentiality here and talking about a client, keep in mind that this same conversation has taken place a number of times with a number of clients.

Frankly, I am disposed to think I have had this kind of conversation with myself going on in my head for a good long time also. I suspect many of you if you are inclined, to be honest about this, have had these thoughts. Something to the effect “Why am I not more important?”  Many of us think from time to time that we should have accomplished more, done more with our lives than we have.

Let’s take a look at the accomplishments of the presidents.

President’s day did not start out as president’s day. Since this is a day ostensibly to celebrate presidents of the United States you would think all the 50 states would celebrate the same people on this day. No such luck.

Originally this all started with an observance of Washington’s Birthday. George Washington being the founder of this country certainly seems entitled to a holiday. Last year my blog was read in 180 different countries. There are certainly other countries in existence from which no one read my blog, but we will pretend that those countries do not matter for the purpose of celebrating a president’s day for the time being.

Presumably, all of these countries each had a founding person of some sort. This puts Mr. Washington in a rather elite group of founding fathers of countries that still exist. My reading of history tells me there is a rather long list of countries that no longer exist so if all countries were included George Washington’s name would be part of a much larger group.

Washington was only the first of our presidents. To date, we have had 44 presidents. Shortly we will begin the drama of selecting another person to be number 45.

As each president has come and gone there has been some support, at times large and at times minuscule, for a day devoted to that president. Had we succumbed to this possibility there would be at this point some 20% of the possible work days devoted to holidays for presidents? These holidays, 20% of all work days holidays, devoted to presidents does not include all the other people and events we mark with holidays.

Some presidents clearly had to be left out of getting a holiday.

Who would be our second choice for a holiday devoted to a president? Turns out the answer to that question was far from agreed upon. Lincoln was certainly a contender. Ask anyone to name three or four presidents of the United States who are no longer with us, and Lincolns name probably makes the list. A few people seem to know the name of the current or the last couple of presidents but before that many people get it wrong.

If Washington was the first president what number president was Benjamin Franklin?

The correct answer to that would be that he was not the president. Neither were a lot of those other people who the kids guess these days.

Some states made Lincolns birthday a holiday also. But the number in that line is far smaller than those who celebrate Washington’s Birthday. Since both of those men were born in February that month was getting crowded. The movement came about to just combine both these men’s birthdays and make it one presidents day.

There are a few states who still are not quite sure that Abraham Lincoln was anyone to celebrate. So some of them opted to add Mr. Thomas Jefferson to the list of people we celebrate on president’s day. This seems reasonable. Jefferson was a man of many accomplishments.  He did some writing, something dear to my heart. I am told that he was one of the collaborators on the Declaration of Independence. His first draft having been improved by some editing from Mr. Franklin. His book collection ended up as a cornerstone of the Library of Congress.

Add all this up and I can see why Mr. Jefferson should deserve a holiday. I also can see why some places think three holidays for presidents were a bit much. Fast forward to the current 44 presidents and see the mess?

Personally, I pay most attention to the holiday schedule here in California, the place I make my home. California is a very politically “ecumenical” state. Neither I nor my thesaurus can find another word that better fits this situation.

California also celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Cesar Chavez day, despite the fact that neither was elected president. It would seem that doing something good, rather than just being president, qualifies you to get a day in your honor. My calendar also reports that yesterday was Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday. I do not find any evidence that this is a holiday in any particular place.

The point of this little verbal expedition, aside from a historical digression?

If all those presidents, 44 to date, the thousands of governors, the legions of legislators, and all those other significant people do not get a memorial holiday. Aren’t you being just a little hard on yourself by thinking that you haven’t accomplished enough with your life?

Stop feeling down about what you haven’t gotten done so far in your life and go out there and make it the best, happiest life possible. Today I am celebrating my importance, at least to myself, along with celebrating and remembering the other people who have contributed to this country I live in. I am hoping you will join me today and take some time to celebrate your importance as a human being also.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life.

You can recover. Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch. If you have gone through a divorce, break up, or lost a job your life may have gotten off track. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel that explores the world of a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Other books are due out soon; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on my writing projects, speaking and teaching, along with comments on recent news in the field of counseling – sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page or my Facebook author’s page, David Joel Miller. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.