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Syndicated Columns

Expand your idea of how to measure personal success

Posted July 15, 2006

Q. At midlife, I am not experiencing the personal success I expected. I'm feeling frustrated and disappointed. How can I accept where I am? -- J.H., Boynton Beach

A. Our youthful dreams and goals are nothing more than secret timetables filled with words like "should" and "could." We usually aren't even aware that these deadlines exist until we go into crisis or feel a deep longing for a life unlived.

In the past, success was defined by wealth, accumulation and status. Only recently have we entertained the notion that success is about choosing to grow, change, improve and learn, to act from our core of passion and to tap into our well of wisdom.

In Jim Uhl's screenplay Fight Club, he refers to us as "the middle children of history … no purpose or place. We have no great war, no great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war."

Now is the time to expand your definition of success that reflects your spiritual insights and personal integration -- both material and spiritual.

Consider this time in your life as a rite of passage, a doorway through which you leave one phase of your life and enter another. Reflect on who you have become, what you have learned, the friends you have made.

Expand your ideas and ideals relating to your expectations about success. See if you can turn your frustration into the fuel that will ignite your desire to live life more fully and experience delight.

"When you follow your bliss," Joseph Campbell said, "doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else."

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