Celeste Owens

Celeste Owens

A motivational speaker and licensed psychologist with a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.


Success on your own terms

Q: How do you define success?

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is the question that every child is asked at least once, if not a million times before entering adulthood. Most children learn rather quickly that there is a right and wrong answer to this question.

As they continue to hit the brick wall of disapproval for responses like sword eater and snake charmer (perfectly suitable professions I might add) they become conditioned to respond in a manner more acceptable to the adults they so aim to please. Thus the mature kindergartner learns to respond with the socially acceptable answer of doctor, lawyer, and teacher before he or she even understands why.

As an adult, the desire to succeed (and thus be accepted) can be the driving force behind many of our choices including attending college, getting married, choosing a certain career, having children or not having children, working overtime, even starting a business. We all want to be a success  -- but what is it really?

 Success is doing what you were put on this Earth to do: living out your life's purpose. For each person, that will look different. A successful life doesn't require glamour, notoriety or even a lot of money -- but must include passion, love, and a desire to change the world. In fact, the world should be a little better when you leave. 

You aren't here for very long but you can certainly leave a lasting impression. Now that is success.

By Celeste Owens  |  November 2, 2009; 1:50 PM ET  | Category:  Defining success Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Success through the eyes of others | Next: Vision, not luck


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Thank you for your words of wisdom! It is refreshing to hear that happiness and success, is not based on material things, but instead on one fulfilling their life purpose. Sometimes it’s hard to see this through the influx of advertisements that are displayed in the media. But the most powerful part of your piece, at least for me, is being reminded of not only the need to fulfill one’s life purpose, but to also be a change agent, by making a difference in the world that we live in.

Again, thank you for the inspiration!

Posted by: chishch | November 4, 2009 9:47 PM
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That's very intriguing. I never realized how your taught growing up the acceptable answer for "What do you want to be when you grow up"? I myself wanted to be a lawyer, because that was the most socially acceptable answer. However, not realizing growing up, that's not being successful. I need to know my purpose in life. When you know your purpose, you become passionate, once your passionate, you're building love and desire, now your creating a correlation. Now that I'm older, I no longer want to be a lawyer. I'm striving for my purpose in life, so I can be an successful women.
Thanks for your words of enlightment.

Posted by: chistm65 | November 4, 2009 6:42 PM
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Very enlightening, thanks for sharing.

Posted by: apdarden | November 3, 2009 3:45 PM
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I really didn’t look at success as fulfilling your life’s purpose. I looked at it as being wealthy having the finer things in life. Now that I think about it there are a lot of people who have the nice cars, the big houses and titles and they still aren’t happy because they aren’t fulfilling their life’s purpose
Thank you for sharing because it has changed my way of thinking

Posted by: vanessafoster899 | November 3, 2009 2:32 PM
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