It’s funny how much impact the stories we hear in passing can have on us. Success in our culture is often defined by money, education, and a good career. While these things aren’t bad, we often forget that building healthy relationships and spending time with loved ones has a massive part in our sense of fulfillment. That’s what a fisherman taught me anyway. 

Sometimes we can get swept along and just go with the flow. Before we know it we’re doing what everyone else is doing, and we can forget to stop and think about what we really want to achieve.

What do you define as success?

We’re told to be so focused on ‘success’ and keeping up with everyone else that we forget to stop and truly think about what we really want from life.

What Is Success?

What do you define as success?

I remember hearing a story a long time ago. I don’t know if it really happened or it’s just a modern proverb, but I definitely learned something from it.

The Fisherman Proverb

‘There was a guy who had just graduated with a Business degree and decided he needed a bit of a rest. So he did what a lot of young people do after uni and went travelling.

This man was from a very poor country but seemed fairly content

On his travels he met a man who caught fish for a living. This man was from a very poor country but seemed fairly content. The graduate starting chatting to him and asked him what his working day looked liked. He replied something like:

“I get up early in the morning, and go out on my boat. I catch about one net full of fish. Then I go to the local market at around midday, sell some, keep some for tea, go home and help my kids with their homework.

“We eat together and then we play for a bit. Then after they go to bed me and my wife relax, chat and enjoy ourselves”.

Making Money (?)

The business graduate’s entrepreneurial side came out, and began to get excited and exclaimed:

“Did you know, if you got up a bit earlier and worked for twice as long you could catch twice as many fish. And if you walked to the market that is further away they would pay you more money. And after one year you could buy another boat and employ someone else.

“Then after three years you would have a fleet. Then you could buy a car and drive to all the markets in the area. Then after 10 years you could begin to open shops. Then after 20 years you could even start supplying most of the country. Then after 40 years you could go international.

“Then you’ll make so much money you can retire and do whatever you want”.

The fisherman smiled back and said “But I already do what I want.”’

Redefining Success 

From a very young age we’re told by our educational system, our society, and our family, that success means investing in a career, self-comfort, and educational achievement. But success is more than that. Having people we trust, having people to share it all with, people who know and love us, are all part of it.

Our definition of success needs to include building good relationships, and not seeing it as an added extra

Having a good job and education isn’t a bad thing. But most people want to get married at some point, or at least commit to a life-long relationship and be surrounded by friends and family. Yet we can end up putting most of our time and energy into making money or into our career before we realise it.

Our definition of success needs to include building good relationships and not seeing it as an added extra. (Read The Cross Deals With More Than Just Forgiveness, Right?)

Imagine if…

Imagine if we reminded ourselves that success isn’t just found in tangible things like our job title or bank account. And saw that investing in our family, friends and loved ones, romantic relationships and non-romantic ones, as something that is just as important as the other skills we learn.

This week, make half an hour to invest in a relationship. Call or facetime someone you haven’t in a while. Ask someone how they are doing and really listen to the answer. Invest in building a successful relationship. (Read What I Wish I Had Been Taught About Love)

What other small things can we do to build relationships? Comments welcomed below.