Jennifer Hancock: Redefining success through relationships

What is success? How do we know when we've achieved it? Will success make us happy? How we define success impacts how we feel about our lives.

As a Humanist, I define success by the quality of the relationships. If I have good people in my life I feel pretty successful. For me, it is my relationships with others that give my life meaning and purpose.

Yes, there are things I want to accomplish professionally. But whether or not I am successful at achieving these goals doesn't impact whether I feel successful or not. I consider success in those areas a bonus.

My real goal, as a human being, is to be the best, most ethical person I can be. Regardless of what else happens, through fortune and misfortune, if I can be the good person I know I should be, I feel like I have been successful.

Being the best person I can be is my primary goal because I know that if I can do that I can achieve a level of satisfaction in my life that no amount of wealth can buy. I am either a person I feel good about or I am not.

The other reason being ethical matters to me is because I know that if I want to attract good friends and good relationships, I need to be worthy of them.

The secret is to understand that ethics is about how you want to be treated.

If someone treats you well, you think they are good. If they treat you bad, you think they are bad. This is why the Golden Rule occurs in pretty much every culture and every religion.

If you want good people around you, you need be a good person to attract them. This is why you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Having good people around you makes life easier and happier. The way to cultivate good relationships is to focus on being the best most ethical person you can be. Only then will you be worthyof those great relationships.

Is this easy? No. You have to consciously choose your actions so that you will be a benefit to yourself and others.

You have to work to make sure that you properly balance your responsibilities to yourself andto others, which is not easy to do. It takes effort to feel compassion forthe people who annoy you.

But is it worth it? Yes it is. The payoff is higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in your life and relationships worth having.

Jennifer Hancock, who writes about Humanism, can be found on the web at