The other day, I was having a conversation with two of my friends about our other friends – what they’ve been up to, their jobs, etc. We started talking about how much money each of the people in our friend group makes (random, I know). One of my friends said that he probably made the least amount of money, and I countered saying I did. I made a joke saying, “Yay for being the least successful ones,” to which he replied, “Actually, I’d say that we might actually be two of the most successful ones.” This made me think about success and how everyone views it differently. One person may make six figures a year but feel unsuccessful because he’s not fulfilling his passion. Another person may look at that same person and think he’s successful because of the amount of money he makes. It’s all relative.
How do people define success?
I think this is a big one for so many people because it’s something that’s measurable. If you start working at a job making a few dollars an hour, and years later work your way up to a high-end salaried position, you would probably consider yourself successful. Not only have you climbed the ladder and continued to gain better job titles, you also make more money. To some people, making a lot of money is all it takes to be considered successful.
For some people, success is measured by how many people you’re in charge of. If you’re one of the higher-ranking people in your workplace, it’s probably easy to feel like you’re successful because you have a lot more power over the people who work for you.
Some people may define success as the positive impact their job has on others. As a type 2, I definitely appreciate this perspective when it comes to success. Personally, I would consider any military personnel, firefighters and police officers successful. Then beyond that, I would say that people who work at homeless shelters, feed the hungry or are in charge of projects to help improve the lives of others are also successful.
It’s probably know surprise that this is one of the biggest factors I consider when measuring success. A few years ago, I shared my story of how I was working somewhere that I made a good amount of money, but I went home crying everyday. Even though my bank account looked pretty, I wasn’t happy, and my happiness meant more to me than the amount of money I was making. I know I could never call myself successful if I was working in a job that I hated. To me, the most successful people are the happiest when it comes to their career.
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Many times, success has nothing to do with your career at all. It has to do with the people you surround yourself with. I know many people who consider themselves successful because they have a great marriage with beautiful children, and that’s all they need. For those who don’t have families, success can also mean being surrounded by a solid group of friends who love and respect you.
Most people have the dream car they want to buy, the dream house they’d like to live, the dream TV they’d like own, etc. all thought out. There are many people who would consider themselves successful if they owned all of their dream possessions.
For those that have a thirst for learning, success could be defined as the obtainment of knowledge. Whether it’s reading and learning as much as you can on your own or earning as many degrees as you can, knowledge is a great way to measure success.
I think this goes a little beyond happiness. It’s not just being happy with your job and what you do; it’s about being satisfied with your choices, your values and your life in general. I believe that self-satisfaction is the ultimate measurement for success. People that live life authentically and are overall satisfied with who they are are the most successful in my eyes.
My question is: Does anyone really consider themselves successful? As humans, I believe that we’re always trying to better ourselves. Life is just one challenge after another, and getting over one hump or achieving one goal won’t satisfy us forever.
So how do YOU define success?