Defining Success

Hey team, this ones gonna be a bit of a ramble so just bear with me…

I’ve had a number of thoughts rattling around my head regarding the word ‘success’

  • How do we define success?
  • Against what should we measure our successes?
  • How do people react to others successes?

My first realisation is that actually it’s quite difficult to split those 3 questions out as they are all part of the same question and all impact upon the over.

So how should we define success? On a base task level for me, if my actions have caused me to reach or surpass my original intent then to me, that’s a successful venture. But then what does it mean to be ‘successful’? I had a rather humbling conversation the other day where someone defined their life as ‘successful’ with the following criteria

  • Do you have food in your belly?
  • Do you have a roof over your head?

So far then, all we’ve done is give ourselves another question. The difference between a “success” and considering someone or something as “successful”. Let’s break it out further then to the second question to see if we can get an answer. “Against what should we measure our successes”

In the social media age, it seems we like to compare our successes to our peers. There’s always been an element of “keeping up with the Joneses” in life but social media has amplified that so a yard stick is always available to measure against. To me, this is where success should NOT be measured. Success should be measured against your own yard stick.

Let’s use my own situation as an example. We’ve not been able to have children and to some that would constitute a failure of the entire point of persuing a relationship, procreation. So should I be considered less successful that someone who has had a couple of children? Absolutely not. By extension, should the stay at home mum/dad be considered less successful than someone who could be considered to have a good career? Nope. Both are successful in the situation in which they have found themselves in. So then, the measurement of success should be personal rather than against others.

The final question then of”how do people react to others successes “?

Social media only provides a highlight of what people have going on and generally will only be of a positive light. We only see what people want us to see. The reality could often be different. However, feedback is generally positive via social media for reinforcing success. Most people are polite enough to keep it shut if they have nothing nice to say.

But what about the arena of real life? I’ve found here that the water is a bit murkier. Some people will always try to measure themselves against you both favourably and not.

There are those that would consider themselves ‘more successful’ and this gives them ‘superiority’ over those they consider ‘less successful’. This is an awful outlook held by a minority but this unfortunately seems to tie a stigma, for me at least, to being seen as doing well for myself.

I’d like to think you can celebrate your own successes as you’re proud of what you might have achieved but there are third parties that will always be upset and take your happiness as gloating

So what’s the conclusion i’m trying to reach. I suppose it’s this

  • Be happy with your own successes no matter how large or small
  • Be supportive of other’s success. Someone keeping to a diet might not seem huge to you, but i can guarantee it’s big to them.
  • Measure your successes against your own situation.
  • Don’t get mad at someone who you ‘perceive’ to be doing well.

As always be excellent to each other.

Author: Jon

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