How do you define success?

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We live in a culture where we define success as winning.

What does winning mean with schools making sure that everyone who participates gets a winner’s ribbon? Does anyone really win if everyone wins?

What does winning mean to the Olympian who turns in her best time, beats the previous world and Olympic records, but places third?

How do we define winning for ourselves so that success is possible in every life situation?

The critical element that no one talks about is the locus of control.

Locus of control refers to your belief that you can control what is happening to you. An internal locus of control means that you believe you have control over your life. An external locus of control means that you believe that you are at the whim of the fates and other people control you.

Modern society teaches us to have an external locus of control. Consider how we use language: “You made me mad!” “It’s your fault!” “You made me love you, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to do it!”

An external locus of control means that our success is completely dependent on what other people think. Their opinions control our lives, which leads to an emotional roller coaster ride.

I suggest that you consciously make the decision to choose an internal locus of control in life experiences that involve competition or being judged. Make your own determination as to what constitutes success in these situations. Set your own goal, and if you meet it, you are successful, regardless of what anyone else thinks. This will build your self-confidence and create the foundation for future successes.

Photo by kris krüg on Flickr.

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