You don’t have to look too far before you get bombarded with the world’s idea of success. That ideal usually has something to do with money, status, power, statistics/numbers, and the like. But just because the world/society says that something is the pinnacle of success, that doesn’t mean it’s true for you.
One of the best things you can ever do for yourself is to decide what success looks like to you and you alone. If you do that, you will:
- save yourself some time
- hone your focus
- play to your strengths
- end any questions of am I enough or self-doubt or [insert your emotional struggle here]
- and on the list goes.
1. So you can be fulfilled.
There’s something in this world that makes you feel whole and complete when you do it. Something that gives your life meaning and purpose, that makes you feel alive, that makes you excited about waking up in the morning. There is something that nourishes you and gives you a sense of rightness with the world, a feeling like you’re finally where you belong.
Here’s the kicker: you won’t find out what that something is by following someone else’s idea of success. You must find that something out for yourself.
The peril if you don’t define success for yourself: you may end up chasing after what others want/need/dream of/deem important/etc. and come to find, when you finally reach whatever it is, that you don’t feel fulfilled by achieving it.
2. So you can be happy.
That something that fulfills you like nothing else does may earn you a living or it may not. It may earn you accolades, status, power, and the like or it may not. It may earn you fame or your picture on the cover of a magazine or a place in history or it may not. It will, however, give you peace of mind and a feeling of being at home and/or at ease with yourself when you do it, which, in my opinion, is worth more than anything in this world that you could exchange for it.
Here’s the kicker: you won’t be truly happy unless you feel fulfilled, and someone else’s idea of success will never, in the end, fulfill you.
The peril if you don’t define success for yourself: you’ll feel a sense of unease while you’re chasing after someone else’s idea of success, always having a niggling feeling (even if you try to suppress/ignore it) that this isn’t what you want to be doing. When you finally reach your goal, it may look like outward success, but it won’t feel like success inside you, which is where it counts the most.
3. So you can live a life that matters to you and is true to you.
We all exchange our lives for what we choose to do with our time. How much is not being in conflict with yourself worth to you? How much does it matter to you to be able to look yourself in the eyes in a mirror and be happy with what you see looking back? How much do you care if what you do with your life truly matters deeply to you?
Here’s the kicker: the answers matter because they will guide you to a life that suits you best. Nobody else can answer what’s best for you because nobody knows you better than you know yourself.
The peril if you don’t define success for yourself: you’ll end up on a path you don’t want to be on. You will, sad to say, end up living someone else’s life. And all that time spent pursuing something you don’t really want will be all that time you just can’t ever get back.
So do yourself a kindness and answer this: What does success look like to you?