THERE are certain times in every life when one wonders if one has been successful.
That time might arrive with a glance at one's superannuation balance, and the dazzling lack of zeroes at the end of it.
Or it might be a glance at one's waistline and how it's impeding one's view of one's less-than-dazzling super statement. This might not be a bad thing.
Or it may come with a glance at one's kids, who may or may not get out of juvie within the month.
We're all different and it's natural to look for ways to measure up, preferably with a sense of humour, because you might need it.
Inevitably, if you wonder long and hard enough, you'll end up on the internet reading "guru lists".
Those scientifically compiled tables of signs, omens, psychopathies arranged in no particular order by people who may have sold pyramid schemes in a former life.
Designed to inform if you are successful "in the now", or likely to be in the soon-to-be-arriving now - that's guru talk for "the future" - prior to death, which is a sure indicator you need a new guru.
You know the lists I'm talking about.
Guides like: "10 things you need to stop doing if you are going to be successful".
I'm always surprised No1 on this type of list is not: Stop taking the piss out of these lists.
Or: "11 things you need to start doing if you are going to be successful."
Getting off your arse and doing something rarely seems to get spelt out.
Then of course there's the "12 signs you are successful and simply unaware of it."
Often cited in the "13 hard-core pieces of evidence you're in denial" list.
And rarely referred to in the "14.5 sociopathic tendencies of millionaires".
That's because millionaires are focused, they think big, they make mistakes (often with other people's money) before making truckloads of their own.
Based on that standard they may be totally unaware that they are successful, but you're not, courtesy of the guru lists you might want to copy in your darker moments.
Like when you contemplate your super balance.
Yes, you can get can transported out of your comfort zone reading these lists.
And usually, moving out of your comfort zone is No9 on such lists.
It's all about manipulating misgivings. I mean, moulding mindsets.
That's why I warmed to one I stumbled across the other day on a business-type "yeah baby, go for it" website.
It was called "20 Habits of Eventual Millionaires".
This was a list I could get my teeth into because it combined the idea of being probably not that successful in the now with the possibility of being hopefully a bit more successful sometime in the soon-to-be-arriving now, prior to death.
I noticed early on that chewing your fingernails did not rate a mention as one of the habits.
But I read on anyhow because the suspense was killing me.
According to this particular guru it's all about "Taking one ray of light and combining them all to become the sun".
In fact, one was urged to put that concept to one's 20-year-old self and ask him or her what constitutes success.
Knowing my 20-year-old self, I believe he may well have asked what I'd been smoking. And if I had any spare. But I got the gist of where this list was coming from.
Reverse engineering. Envisioning the end product, you, and working backwards through the process that led to its arrival.
If this process seems alarming, I suggest you refer back to the "12 signs you're successful but unaware of it" before proceeding.
I did because I was struggling for claret at that moment. I mean clarity.
One trait top of the "20 habits of eventual millionaires" list I found easy to understand was: "Avoid death."
String that one out as long as possible I would have thought. A little obvious but a good indication of the level of nitty gritty detail this guru was prepared to go into.
Gurus should never get too specific.
Another habit that didn't seem so self-evident was: "Every day be around people who are kind to you and love you."
Ironic in a Catch 22 type of way, depending on where you work and how things are going at home.
Which is OK because the next habit is: "Solve difficult gratitude problems."
Apparently it helps to be grateful for things that really give you the gee willikers.
As the guru outlines, it's the difference between being scared in a movie and saying, "wait, it's just a movie".
Except it's not a movie.
Speaking of movies, the next habit is a shining light: "Write down 10 ideas a day."
A great idea, unless that idea you're writing repeatedly is, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
Planting seeds is recommended because, according to my guru, 50 per cent of flowers come from 1 per cent of seeds.
I get lost when it comes to such garden variety mathematics, but I can't help suspecting it could help when buying a Lotto ticket, and may also have applications regarding my super statement.
Hopefully that's something I can measure up in the long term and tick off my guru list when it comes to signs of success.