• Vipan Maini

Do you know your successes? Do this 10-minute exercise and surprise yourself!

I don't know about you but I rarely take time to reflect on events during the past year unless it is just before New Years Day when considering New Year's Resolutions. And even then, it is more of what has gone well and what were the difficult times rather than just looking at success.

I've just celebrated yet another birthday and I was asked a slight variation to this question -

"What's been the biggest successes so far in your life?"

I loved this question for several reasons - firstly, it's such a positive question - it's all about the good things you've achieved; not what could have, might have or should have happened. It's all about what actually has happened - the positive achievements that have occurred in your life. Therefore, your mind is only thinking positive thoughts which are always good for your mind and body. Secondly, it's definitely a mood-enhancing question - and as a result, makes you feel positive, better about yourself (if you're feeling down or in a negative frame of mind) because you are thinking about your successes. Thirdly, it's a great way of boosting your confidence; as you very rarely reflect on what you have achieved to date but rather, spend most of the time trying to achieve the next "success" or spend time worrying about why you have not achieved your next goal or met your next target.

What is success?

Asking this question then makes you think about the meaning of success? At first glance, it seems straightforward - you might immediately think of what you have achieved - but in what? Do you define success in monetary terms; how much money you have earned, how much money you have saved etc? Is it related to career success? How many promotions you have achieved? Your seniority at work? How brilliant your children are? Or is it about your efforts - how much you've tried to achieve certain targets?

It soon becomes apparent there are so many different possibilities of what success looks like, depending on how we view our lives and what is of importance to us. There is no single correct answer or definition of success - I believe each of us though, should have an idea of what success means to us.

But how often, if at all do we pause and actually think about this question? And is it worth thinking about? The answer to both is definitely yes - the answers to the second question can have a profound impact on the quality and direction of our lives.

The 10-minute exercise - list your successes

There are a number of different ways of making this list- I have no preference. I have listed 2 ways but there are also other ways.

  1. Chronologically, in date order: Highlight the decades of your life; 0-10, 11- 20, 21-30 etc and record all the successes/achievements under each decade. What you record is up to you. E.g. it can be your school achievements - sports day winner, or academic prizes or achievements related to your hobbies, health, etc - anything that is important and of value to you.

  2. By category; Make a list of categories that are of importance to you such as :

  • Sport

  • Family

  • Leisure

  • Career

  • Financial

  • Family etc

And list all your successes under each one. The only drawback of this method is that you might fail to recognise or re