Inner success vs Outer success: Which one is right for me?

Success is an achievement of an aim or purpose. Unfortunately, most of us judge success of every one with the same criteria of money and also other materialistic things. Instead, We need to understand 3 types of success based on your purpose: The Inner Success, the outer success and the impact success.

Let’s start with 2 questions to explore success:

Q1] Think about the most successful person. Which person comes to your mind first? Did you think about a celebrity or famous sport person or a famous business tycoon or industrialist or a celebrated CEO.

Q2] What does Success means to you? Most common answer we get to this question is “being happy” or “happiness”.

Whatever person you thought of as the answer for the first question, you might not know if he or she is really happy in the life. On the other hand, being happy was the key criteria to define success as answer of second question. To solve this puzzle we need to understand two types of success.

  • The outer success.
  • The inner success.

The outer success

Outer success is how the outside world perceives success. It is measured (generally by others) by your money or power or social rank. Outer success is what world sees and also the media loves to capture. So outer success is reflected with your economic success, your career progression, recognition from others, celebrity status. Most people think about these outer life achievements when they first hear the word success. Since the outer life is what society rewards for, people often link this with success. The downside is this kind of success is difficult to hold on to. Because Outer success is about how you perform against the criteria of success defined by others.

The inner success

Your answer to our second question above reflects the inner success. We just want to see ourselves and our loved ones to be happy. If you are happy then you are successful.

I am a strong believer that outer success comes from inner success.

– Eben Pagan

Inner success is when you are satisfied about your own accomplishment. it is how you look upon yourself. When you are at peace with yourself, you achieve inner success. it is about your perception of success and your achievements. So it is free from all external judgements.

Inner success is strongly associated with your inner peace and also your happiness. It is a result of happily accepting life as it is and being optimistic instead of thinking how life should be. Taking charge of your mind and your thoughts is your inner success. This is a state where other people’s thoughts or words do not have impact on your inner peace. The most important quality you need to develop for inner success is positive attitude.

Inner success is all about you and yourself. So it doesn’t matter how others look towards you or towards your achievements. It doesn’t matter how much money you have. Each person is free to define their individual goals and criteria about self inner success. Inner success is different for each person. For example inner success can be a spiritual enhancement, a financial growth, a relationship status. Since you decide what kind of and what level of success you want, inner success varies from person to person.

Know more about Inner success from the book: Inner Success: A Conversation with Myself about My Inner Self

Balance between Inner success and Outer success

I do not want to define good or bad type of success. The outer success is social view of the success and the inner success is personal view. To be truly successful, we need to have right balance between both successes in our life.

Our values and interpersonal skills like wisdom, respect, integrity and humanity guides us and helps us to achieve the right balance between outer success and inner success. Our values initially come from our culture and family. Family and culture puts initial sets of assumption within us regarding what will earn you praise or success and also what will earn you failure or disappointments.

With our age, we get more life experience. Further with it, we become more aware about our assumptions and validate them. With your life experiences and events, you might also want to validate, modify or improve on these cultural assumptions about success. It will further help you strike right balance between inner success and outer success.

To conclude, true success is when you achieve right balance between inner success and outer success both and do not ignore any one from these two.  

Impact Success

Once you are able to strike the balance between inner success and outer success, I want to introduce you to the larger type of success i.e. The Impact success. This success refers to much deeper meaning of our being human which is to live for something greater than just self. Each of us wants to make impact on the world around us. Many people try and achieve self success first and than think about impact success while there are few who keep social impact success at higher priority.

Finally, not trying to justify which one is good or bad. Your success purely depends on what you choose as your aim.

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