Every individual human is different from everyone else. There are no two people the same, however, we all aspire to achieve one thing in life: Success.

Many people have many different definitions and ideas of what a successful life is. Most people these days visualize success as wealth. They believe that without having all the money they will never be successful. Most people take way too much pride in materialistic objects these days, but others have a more realistic view of what success is.

To me, success is having people you love around you and not having to stress about worldly issues. To simply be content with life is success to me, and many other people believe the same. No matter what you believe is success, simply having ambitions in life shows that you are a persevering person – and that’s what truly counts!

One author has studied what a successful life is for quite some time now. Travis Bradberry states,

“Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with. In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are.”

You shouldn’t be visualizing success as a status of wealth. Living a successful life is much more than having all the objects you want; it’s having people to love, that love you, and to share memories with. All in all, people who have ambitions are already living a successful life. You probably are too, you just don’t realize it! These are 8 signs that you are living a successful life!

1. You Have Ambitions

People who have ambitions are already successful people. You should never give up on what you truly want out of life. Never give up on your dreams and keep persevering to get to where you want. People who continue working on their dreams are considered to be successful already.

2. You’re Alive

One of the most successful things we can have in life is a healthy body. If you are alive and healthy you are already doing fantastic. Take advantage of life and youthfulness.

3. You’re Always Improving

Life is always throwing us obstacles. It seems almost as soon as we overcome one mountain we are on our way up another. However, successful people don’t let this get in their way. They are always moving on and bettering themselves. Even through the hard times, they are gaining strength and learning.

4. You Have People That Love You

Aside from success, most people are aspiring to achieve love in their life. If you already have people that love you, most of the population already view you as one of the richest in the world. Anyone can make money but not everyone can maintain positive relationships.

5. You’re Forgiving

Forgiveness is essential to your personal happiness. Many people have the idea these days that forgiveness is for the one who wronged you, but it’s not. Forgiveness only benefits you. Successful people are able to forgive the ones who wronged them and move on in their life to be happy.

6. You Have a Home

One thing the western society certainly takes for granted is a home to go home too. A good portion of the world has to worry about where they’ll be sleeping tonight, so if you don’t consider yourself lucky – and successful.

7. You Have Clothes to Wear

Just like a home, most of the world struggles with finding new clothes to wear. If you have a dresser and a closet full of clothes you’re considered pretty successful.

8. You Can Be Yourself

You can never be successful if you can’t be your true self. If you are successfully broadcasting a false persona to please other people you will never be happy. To be successful you must first be happy being yourself.

This article was originally appeared on Awareness Act.

“Life is one, said the Buddha, and the Middle Way to the end of suffering in all its forms is that which leads to the end of the illusion of separation, which enables man to see, as a fact as clear as sunlight, that all mankind, and all other forms in manifestation, are one unit, the infinitely variable appearance of an indivisible Whole.” ~ Christmas Humphreys

To properly understand ‘The Middle Way’ we must first understand that the Buddha experienced two great extremes in his path to enlightenment. Early in life, he was a sheltered prince, pampered inside a palace with all manner of sensual delights. After leaving this life, he began the practice of asceticism.

Asceticism is the practice of denying the body and mind the pleasures it desires. The Buddha starved himself, owned no possessions, and had no personal connections. He lived this way for years, before finally abandoning it and attaining enlightenment.

Having experienced both extremes, the Buddha realized that neither denial of all pleasure or attainment of great pleasure could satisfy or free a human being. Thus, he introduced ‘The Middle Way’. He determined that a life of moderation, not denial or decadence, could yield freedom.

However, the Middle Way has an even deeper metaphysical meaning. It is a way of viewing existence as “neither coming nor going” and “not permanent nor discontinuous.” Essentially, The Middle Way is the way of non-duality. It is the way of seeing the world as neither evil or good, neither finite or infinite. And it means living neither a life of great sensual pleasure, nor of self-denial.

The Middle Way’s effectiveness is clear if we observe our society. We see that the happiest and most fulfilled people are rarely the richest or most powerful, or the poorest and most impoverished. It is usually those in the middle who lead satisfying lives.

Observation of the world around us is key in the practice of the Middle Way. Through observation, we may remind ourselves of the extremes that bring unhappiness. We see the manic person, who lives only in extreme emotions, and thus will always crash. We see the drug addict, who trades happiness in his base of consciousness for euphoria in an extreme state.

To avoid the many extremes in existence, we must cultivate some sense of detachment. Yet it is important that we do not mistake dissociation with detachment. With detachment we are involved with the world, we act in it, we create in it, but we do not attach ourselves to outcomes. The following quote from the ancient text Samyuktagama illustrates this aspect of the Middle Way:

“If we can see the truth 
of the causes of worldly sufferings,
 we will not be attached to the view of nothingness. 
If we can see the truth of cessation in the world, 
we will not be attached to worldly existence. 
By avoiding the two extremes, 
the Tathagata teaches us 
the Middle Path, which is, 
what this is, that is; this arising, that arises…”

This quote is more powerful the more it is contemplated. The last line expresses the constant shifting of the Universe, and the necessity of detachment from both existence and non-existence. The cycle of life is a manifestation of this cycle of existence arising, and then disappearing.

In following the Middle Way, we may learn to embrace life, whilst losing our fear of death. This is the Middle Way.

Originally appeared on Wisdom Pills.

About the author

Walker Edwards is a passionate writer, reader, meditator, and learner. He reads a book a day and hardly sleeps at all.

What are the habits that drive us away from achieving success?

We all have bad habits and that’s perfectly normal. But some of these habits may be the reason why your career or your personal life does not evolve the way you want.

Here are 11 habits that may prevent you from achieving success:

1. You are not saying your opinion

Society teaches us to be obedient and not to break the rules. But, if you don’t take risks and don’t say your point of view, don’t expect something exciting to happen to you. Make yourself heard and do not be afraid to express your point of view.

2. You are always late

A successful man is trustworthy and very devoted, so if you have the habit of being late, no one will take you seriously. According to a San Francisco University study, continuous lag is related to anxiety and low self-esteem.

3. You hold grudges

If you keep grudges, all you do is filling yourself with negative thoughts and feelings. In fact, keeping such intense feelings within you can cause health issues.

4. You conform

If you believe absolute compliance will lead you to success and increase your popularity, you are wrong. Every time you choose to follow others, you lose great opportunities. Don’t be a conformist!

5. You are wasteful

Do you often end up with an empty wallet and over-indebted credit cards? This can be a reflection of your financial future. Finances are very important and the proper organization and management of money show a responsible person.

6. You procrastinate

People who procrastinate lose opportunities because they fail to complete their job they undertake in time. They harm their reputation because they are inconsistent.

Watch: Stop Procrastination

7. You are not honest

Lying can become addictive and one lie leads to the other. Soon, you will be trapped in a vicious cycle that you won’t be able to escape from. The solution? Be honest from the beginning. Sometimes it can be annoying when you see others succeeding through lies, but the satisfaction of a success based on the truth is much greater.

8. You whine

It is good to say what you are thinking, especially when there is something that bothers you, but you should not be exaggerated. People have the habit of avoiding those who grumble and criticizing others all the time.

9. You push people away

The key to success is to have a large contact network that could save you from future problems. The road to achieving success can be long and difficult, but with a little help, it can become easier and enjoyable.

10. You don’t take care of yourself

Always take care of yourself to be healthy. Stress can become your worst enemy, so don’t let the bustle of everyday life stop you from eating healthy foods or exercising.

11. You don’t practice body language

Good first impressions are very important, but the same is true for the second and third. Your body speaks more than your words. Learn to behave like a reliable and confident man. Always keep eye contact with the person you are talking to and have a straight posture.

H/T: Business Insider

Making financial mistakes as a freelancer is normal, especially if you are not experienced.

More people than ever are working today as freelancers, enjoying the freedom and flexibility that come with setting your own hours and being your own boss. The benefits of freelance work are evident at a first glance, but the downsides may not be the same.

Some view freelancing as a way of making more money than ever without having to listen to the nagging voice of a superior all day. However, working for yourself comes with an entirely new brand of responsibilities that cannot be ignored or delayed. Here are five of the most common financial mistakes that every freelancer makes.

1. Not Being Organized

Even for freelancers, costs that are entailed by cell phone or internet service can be deducted from the taxable income. Most people either do not know this or cannot keep track of their spending in order to lower their costs.

Being a freelancer is firstly about perpetually learning new things. How to be organized enough to know where your money is only one of them. Toward this purpose, a proper filling system has to be in place in order to save the freelancer of the hassle of continually keeping track of everything. Secondly, being organized is about self-discipline. Without a boss or an overseer, you must manage your own hours, pushing any distraction safely away for the duration of your self-set work hours.

2. Emergency & Retirement Fund

Working as a freelancer has its perks, but it also means that the cash flow will be sporadic. This can make saving – either for an emergency or for your retirement – extremely hard to do.

First of all, an emergency fund is something that most people, irrespective of being freelancers or not, should have. For a freelancer dependent on his clients, such a fund is even more important as it can get you through periods of the month when work is scant.

Setting up a retirement fund early on is essential for the quality of life that you will have later in life. Connected to a responsible fiscal behavior, setting some money aside each month for old age can be a difficult habit to maintain, especially when you are hampered by other, immediate costs.

However, both the emergency and retirement fund serve as safety nets for you, the self-standing freelancer. You do not enjoy the cushion of a severance package or the safety of a monthly paycheck. If your ingenuity serves you well in your field of work, it should be applied to your financial practices as well.

3. Not Getting Insurance

Company-given health insurance is another thing that you forget when you work as a freelancer. Totally up more profit, some freelancers willingly refrain from buying health insurance for themselves, thinking of it as just another cost that can be cut.

However, for a freelancer, a serious health issue can be financially disastrous. Preventing you from working, it can engulf a significant amount of money and cause you to lose important clients. As you cannot simply take time off from your work, not having health insurance can end up setting you back for more money than it would cost to simply pay each month for it.

4. Wrongly Doing Your Taxes

As a freelancer, your income is not fixed, making reporting and estimating your taxes on a quarterly basis a complicated business. Immediate costs, like electricity, gas or the internet bills can seem more important than setting aside money for the IRS.

However, this can be treated as another problem of fiscal responsibility. Not paying your taxes can entail even more penalties and back taxes which add up. As taxes can be particularly stressful for freelancers, you must find the strength within yourself to pull through each hardship. Standing on your own two feet and due to your own labor is a matter of pride, and you should always treat it as such.

As quarterly taxes must be paid by April 15th, June 15th, September 15th and January 15th each year, one of the simplest ways of keeping track of your taxes is to note them down well ahead of time. By marking down the June 15th deadline on your calendar, for example, you will be able to remember and save money in time to make the payment.

5. Not Risking a Little

If so far you haven’t fall in the trap of the above-mentioned financial mistakes and have been financially responsible through and through, this last point is meant to remind you of the reason why you became a freelancer. Beyond the daily bonuses of organizing your own schedule and work, the essential upside of being your own boss is that you get to decide the path of your business.

As such, going down a riskier track that would give a higher reward is a choice that only you can make. After setting up a few safety nets like an emergency fund and managing to make steady payments to your retirement fund, a risky business move like putting your reputation on the line and going after a high-paying client may, in fact, be the financially advisable.

By avoiding these five financial mistakes that every freelancer makes, your activity will be profitable, safe and financially sound. Coupling fiscal responsibility with a knack for risky businesses, working as a freelancer will not only be enjoyable for you, but it will also ensure a high standard of life.

Are you a freelancer? What financial mistakes do you have to add in this list from your experience? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author:

Starting from a young age, Sean has had a passion for self-development and a healthy, positive lifestyle. Even if some obstacles came along the way, he managed to get past them with a good sense of humor and a strong mentality. Amongst other things, he is now a Content Editor for CalendarTable.com.

Do you want to be more productive? In this article you will find out what highly productive people do differently and enjoy life to the fullest.

No matter what numerous roles you have in life, and what your profession is, the daunting task of becoming more productive usually inspires images of the Shiva goddess with her four hands, because how else would you manage to do more in the same amount of time, when you are undoubtedly already doing your best?

However, there are mere mortals around you who seem to get everything done in a fraction of the time it takes you, with a rich social life and a soaring career. Let’s take a look at some of the traits they share and that you can start nurturing in your own mindset in order to become more productive and enjoy your life to the fullest!

1. Take the reins of your life

Instead of leaving your decision to others and allowing everybody else to guide you, be your own Northern Star, and your key decision-maker. It all starts with having enough faith in yourself to make all those calls and acknowledge the power you have over your own life journey.

2. Stop the unhealthy comparison

Highly successful and productive people only overcome their own limitations and aim to become better in comparison to their previous actions and beliefs, and not to others and their achievements. By comparing you with you, there’s a greater likelihood of progress and you will be able to build high self-esteem and grow your confidence.

3. Start goal-setting and problem-solving

An important skill is your ability to set short, mid and long-term goals, decide on milestones, measuring your progress and focus on ways to overcome obstacles and find solutions to problems. This is one of the key qualities of people who take action, enjoy challenges and perceive every problem as an opportunity to grow and advance.

4. Practice visualization and meditation

By incorporating meditation and visualization into your daily life, you will be able to tap into cognitive and emotional abilities you never knew existed. You will increase your focus, emotional stability, and mental acuity, among many other important abilities, while visualizing your goals will guide you towards them, empowered by positive thoughts.

Just like the awareness of the big picture is an important perspective to have in life, it’s equally essential to be able to anchor yourself into the present moment, clear your mind, and let go of negative thought patterns.

5. Stay realistic

Having faith in yourself is one thing, but getting carried away and losing your head in the clouds over a possibility is completely another. Highly productive people know how to stay firmly on the ground while keeping their confidence and self-esteem intact.

Staying realistic means that even the negative events in your life have meaning, and you know how to use them to advance, without losing your enthusiasm for achieving your goals.

6. Be an early bird

Not only is it important to start your day early, but also to have a healthy sleeping pattern, from going to bed at a reasonable hour, to rising after eight hours of quality sleep. Productive people know how to balance their daily responsibilities without resorting to late-night work or study sessions.

Sleep deprivation is a major cause of cognitive dysfunction, immune system problems, among many other issues, so it’s essential to sleep well in order to stay sharp.

7. Be health-conscious

A healthy life is based on numerous healthy habits, such as rising early, balanced nutrition, physical activity and stress-reducing techniques. Little things such as starting your morning with a freshly squeezed lemon in lukewarm water, packed and ready fitness clothes for your workout, a prepared meal and a bottle of water will help you build a healthy routine.

Taking care of your health should not be a chore, but a foundation of a healthy lifestyle which is an important segment that promotes your productivity and fulfillment.

8. Surround yourself with inspiration

If you take control of your life and spend time immersed in positive meditation, you are bound to attract like-minded people and things that will inspire you to advance in life. Steer clear of those who deplete your energy levels and surround yourself with those who support you and share a similar mindset.

9. Always learn

Once you start perceiving everything as a lesson as opposed to a failure or success, you will be able to move forward at a quicker pace, viewing everything as a learning opportunity. Learning by doing and not being afraid of uncharted territories will help you leave your comfort zone, which is where the most important lessons are learned.