If you do not feel yourself growing in your work and your life broadening and deepening, if your task is not a perpetual tonic to you, you have not found your place.

This is no single, universal path toward success or happiness, because there is no single, universal definition for what success or happiness mean in the first place. Some people may prefer an idyllic lifestyle in the countryside where they can spend their days painting and writing poetry. Other people may prefer to be in the middle of the action, surrounded by the frenetic, buzzing energy of a bustling city center. One is no better than the other. It’s just a matter of perspective.

No matter your perspective, though, I’d like to think that most people want to feel like what they’re doing is actually making a difference in one way or another. I’d like to think that everyone wants to move forward, whatever “moving forward” means for them. Ideally, we want our lives to be richer and more fulfilling with each passing day.

This is far more profound than the fleeting moments of happiness we might get from a terrific lunch or a great movie. It’s so much more than that, because we want to feel like our lives are “broadening.” While I think it’s far too optimistic to expect anything to be a “perpetual tonic,” we’d hope there’s enough there to keep driving us forward.

Doing what you love doesn’t have to mean loving every moment.

American inspirational author Orison Swett Marden founded Success magazine in 1897 and wrote extensively on what it meant to lead a well-rounded and successful life. Indeed, he published over 50 books and booklets in his lifetime. He found the tonic that kept him going. He found the thing that allowed his life to evolve and develop more meaning.

Whether or not you subscribe to the New Thought school of philosophy, whether or not you believe in a “supreme, universal and everlasting” God, we all want our lives to mean something. And sometimes, we have to create that meaning for ourselves.

Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities; strong men make them.

There’s an old saying that fortune favors the bold. It’s also true you have to be prepared when fortune knocks on your door. Otherwise, the opportunity will slip through your fingers or you may not even notice that it is there. You can make your own luck, so to speak, when you position yourself to attract these shots at success. You can make your own luck when you’re willing to meet it halfway.

Put another way…

Do not waste time dreaming of great faraway opportunities; do the best you can where you are. Open your petals of power and beauty and fling out the fragrance of your life in the place that has been assigned to you.

Don’t worry about what you think might be greener grass on the other side of the fence. Don’t let that influence your outlook or decision-making process, because you should be focusing on how you can cultivate and nurture the grass that is already underneath your own two feet.

You can only work with what you are given. But if a single, humble seed can grow into a mighty oak tree, your humble beginnings can still lead you to remarkable success, however you choose to define it.