I am currently reading Frida Kahlo’s biography and thinking about fame and “success.”
As a teenager, there was nothing I wanted more than that. I was even part of a band (I am literally laughing out loud now). However, as I read more and more about Frida’s pain and suffering, I am certain, more than ever, that fame, fortune, and even romantic love will never bring me success—and most importantly, happiness.
Society puts so much pressure on people to succeed, and unfortunately, defines success as being rich and famous. However, at 40, I realized that I, the “nobody,” am probably happier and more at peace than many “successful” people out there. Jim Carrey put it best when he said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
At 40, I finally understand that being blessed is so much better than being lucky. However, my human nature will always need reminders.
Thus, I came up with these 40 questions that I ask myself every now and then in order to assess my level of success and whether I am there or at least on the right path.
>> Did I wake up in peace?
>> Is there anything I am truly grateful for?
>> Did I say “no” to the wrong people at the right time?
>> Did I do something fun and creative?
>> Did I learn something new, no matter how trivial it was?
>> Did I take care of myself and my personal hygiene?
>> Did I eat healthy food, more veggies, and fruits? Did I move my body?
>> Did I set the right boundaries?
>> Did I laugh? Did I crack silly jokes? Did I try to make someone laugh?
>> Did I cry? Did I let myself feel?
>> Did I post something mindful and helpful?
>> Did I save water and power?
>> Did I do or buy anything eco-friendly?
>> Did I help another soul in any way?
>> Did I write, express myself, and voice my concerns?
>> Did I connect with the people I love?
>> Did I read something mindful, helpful, and useful?
>> Did I truly forgive others, including myself?
>> Did I watch a good movie, documentary, video, or anything useful?
>> Did I pray and meditate?
>> Did I save money? Did I shop mindfully?
>> Did I connect to nature? Did I water my plants?
>> Did I take a nice photo? (Clouds and sunsets are a personal favorite.)
>> Did I keep my area tidy and clean to some extent?
>> Did I sleep, and most importantly, did I sleep peaceably?
>> Did I block negative and destructive thoughts?
>> Did I drink enough water and no other harmful fluids?
>> Did I take a break and focus on my breathing?
>> Did I get some sunlight and fresh air?
>> Did I give myself or others sincere compliments?
>> Did I daydream, visualize my goals, or simply visit Neverland?
>> Did I listen to good music? Did I sing? Did I dance?
>> Was I kind to myself and other people, doing the best I could with what I had?
>> Did I say positive affirmations that I truly believed?
>> Was I angry when I was supposed to be? Did I forgive myself afterward?
>> Did I teach anyone anything? Did I encourage and support someone else?
>> Did I step out of my comfort zone at least once?
>> Did I see something beautiful? Did I smell something nice?
>> Did I make a good speech in the shower? Did I do something silly?
>> Last but not least, did I let go of everything I couldn’t control?
In conclusion, today, I base my view of success on one of my all-time favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.”