"Define success, pursue it, and put a lot less importance on the other stuff. That's how to succeed on the only terms that matter: yours." - Jeff Haden
In this process of conscious choosing - of making a decision thoughtfully and knowingly, rather than drifting along with the flow of life - what criteria do we use to evaluate how we make decisions?
This is critically important. This someone, I suspect, most people don't do in any reasoned and thought out fashion. It's far easier to disguise a "going along" decision with a "choice we made" - but when pressed, we often cannot come up with the reason why we made that "choice" in the first place.
The key is definition - definition of ourselves (knowledge), definition of what we hold as things of the highest importance (values), and definition based on these two items of where we want to go (vision).
But definition is a hard thing: it's not like a television program which is piped through a cable and gives us "High Def TV". Instead, it's a reasoned and intensive process of looking internally at ourselves and what we value.
In the quote above, Jeff Haden makes the case that success is not something that can be generically defined. But many of us do, defining it as "living comfortably" or "money" or "a good family life". The problem with generic definitions are simply that they are generic and not really applicable an individual's life. We are all individuals; success for each of us, success that would make us truly happy and gratified, is as individual as we are. But without knowing, we will never take the step of actually defining.
"The unexamined life" says Socrates through his pupil Plato, "is not worth living". If unexamined is defined, Socrates is correct: we will not, in the end, have a life worth living if we have not defined how it is that we truly want and need to live.