“Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than

a successful present moment.”  Eckhart Tolle


Success can be a tricky concept. We all have definitions of what constitutes a “success,” and I bet most of us feel like we fall short. 

Many people equate it with money and status. How much money do we have to earn (or have in the bank or in assets) in order to feel like we’re a “success”? Then there’s status. Does our definition of success include working in a high-powered, highly esteemed career? We might even have physical appearance criteria in our picture of success, which could include a certain weight, body shape, size or height. (Too bad for me! 🙂 )

And although most would acknowledge that the definition of “success” should include inner peace, health, and loving relationships, it’s mostly lip service. Sure, they’re important, but does the world actually respect and value such non-tangibles?

I ask these questions because my ego has grappled with them for years. And then I saw that quote by Eckhart Tolle. It resonated so strongly with me, becoming an instant game-changer for my own definition: “Don’t let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.” 

If a present moment is filled with irritation, disappointment, doubt, worry, chaos or anger, it doesn’t matter if we’re rich, attractive and powerful. That’s misery, and it sure doesn’t count as success.

So now I declare this precise, humble moment a success. I appreciate being in a position to share what’s on my heart. I gratefully take a sip of tea as I look out my window at the dreary, grey December day, and thank my lucky stars that I am warm, healthy and alive. 

My life is rich and successful beyond measure when I factor in the “value” of you, my inner circle; my husband and children; my immediate and extended family and network of friends; and that overall we are healthy, well, and living in peace and relative prosperity in one of the world’s greatest countries.

Believing this doesn’t mean I always feel successful. Old habits die hard, and my ego still likes to challenge and belittle me, so I have to remind myself of this often. And raising a bright, strong-minded teen often challenges me to see the success of each eye-rolling moment. But there’s great treasure even then—I just have to dig a little deeper to unearth it!

Wishing you a future of successful present moments, and the deep joy that comes with each one.

Purely Practical Tip

Breathe. Slowly. Consciously. It’s harder than it sounds. Our attention is so scattered, our environment so full of visual and auditory clutter, that even focusing our minds on a few attentive breaths can be a challenge. Try to get to 5-10 mindful breaths. It’s harder than you think, but well worth the effort: You’ll feel more calm, less stress, and be able to fully experience your successful 🙂 present moment! 

Join the Conversation

What makes you feel successful?

Can you recommend any books or quotes that encourage this line of thinking?

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