We live in a society preoccupied with ‘success’. In fact, most of us spend our entire lives chasing success. Yet have you ever stopped to ponder what exactly defines ‘success’, and more importantly – what it means to you?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines success as: “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame”. For us, this definition raises so many questions…How much wealth? Respect from whom? Famous to who? Will we truly be content when we have an agreed upon amount of wealth, respect, and fame, and are these really even the markers for a happy and ‘successful’ life?

We hate to break it to you, but we certainly don’t have all the answers. Besides, even if we did, they shouldn’t concern you. All that matters is what you think about it all. So we encourage you this week to take a pause and have a long hard think about what version of ‘success’ you are chasing and if the criteria you have set up for yourself is a) even achievable or b) worth achieving.

To get you started, we thought we would share with you our favourite story of all time, which forever changed the way we perceive ‘success’. Enjoy!

There was once a wealthy businessman from the city who was sitting by the beach in a small village.

As he sat, he saw a local fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.

The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”

The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman asked astonishingly.

“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman answered.

The businessman questioned, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then I go back home and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and when evening comes, I join my friends in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman was taken aback and decided to offer a suggestion to the fisherman.

“I am quite a successful businessman, and I’d like to offer you some expert advice. From now on, you should spend longer at sea to catch more fish so you can sell them in the village”.

The fisherman asked, “And then what?”

The businessman answered, “Then, when you have saved enough money, you can buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish”.

The fisherman asked, “And then what?”

The businessman continued, “Then, you will be able to afford to buy more boats, hire more fishermen, set up your own company, and even your own production plant. You can then move out of the village and into the city, where you can set up headquarters to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman asked, “And then what?”

The businessman laughed heartily, “Then, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange. You will be rich and you can live in a big mansion.”

The fisherman asked, “And then what?”

The businessman replied, “Well then, all your years of hard work will have paid off! You can finally retire and move to a house by the fishing village where you can spend your days waking up early in the morning to catch a few fish before returning home to play with your kids. You can take a nice afternoon nap each day with your wife, and then when evening comes, you can join your friends in the village for a drink, play the guitar, sing, and dance throughout the night!”

The fisherman smiled and thanked the businessman for his advice, before happily returning home to enjoy playing with his kids.

Centred Meditation Australia