In life we can go chasing after various goals; beauty, success, freedom, happiness, wealth - whatever we believe to be the key to improving our lives. We might think these are the things we need, surely they’ll make everything better, and so we keep on this persistent pursuit. But until we know what these words actually mean to us, we’ll keep coming up empty handed. You can’t attain what you don’t understand. We can’t become successful if our definition of the word is warped.
We've explored beauty here on the blog, took a look at happiness too, so now we’re going to divulge another DareToLive definition.
The definition of success, from my experience.
Success, like beauty, used to mean something different to me. I couldn’t always pinpoint it, but I was sure my life was completely devoid of it. It was a variety of vague ideas of perfection. Success was a loaded term, carrying with it high expectations, pressure and me constantly falling short. It meant mistakes were unacceptable, ‘good enough’ was always just out of reach and until I could get x,y and z, I was merely a failure. Success was on a pedestal that I just couldn’t climb up to.
It was appearance, relationships, lifestyle, education and career – everything had to be impressive, ideal and flawless. That was the kind of success I thought would make me happier. I’d get the perfect body, be active, have loads of hobbies, loads of friends, get a degree, a great relationship and be thriving in my career. Anything less and it felt like there was something wrong with me, I was useless and I had failed.
That definition couldn’t be further from what it is for me now.
Success to me now, is the little everyday things all coming together to make my life what it is today. It is being open to learning, it’s making mistakes and how we handle them. It’s trying new things even if we’re afraid. Success is pursuing what we believe in, following passions and getting in touch with our talents. It’s picking ourselves up every time we fall down and trying again.
Success for me has taken the shape of getting to work everyday without panic attacks,learning from my mistakes, having nights out that I can actually remember, building friendships, recovering from my eating disorder, putting myself out there, exploring my creativity, trying new things, learning about myself and never giving up.
It’s different for all of us, but I think we need to see the possibility of success in all of the small accomplishments we have each day. It’s all about how we look at it and what we’re seeing.
I see others as being successful when they’re doing what they love, when they’re taking risks, when they’re helping others out, or when they’re challenging fears. There’s success in trying our best, making an effort and committing to what matters to us. It’s not so much of an end goal as how we’re conquering life’s little challenges. I don’t see myself as a failure now for the funny twists and turns I’ve gone on in my life, ones that have led me miles away from my old definition of success. I’d much rather be where I am right now, than trying to impress the world with pieces of paper or money or how incredibly over exerted I am from trying to do it all.
Life doesn’t always lead you where you might expect it to, but we’ve got to just make the most of it. Some of the stuff that may seem so important right now, might not have that much actual impact on our happiness, so maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what success really is in our own lives. Move the goalposts to suit you where you are right now, with what you have and what you honestly want, not just what looks good to others.
Every single moment is the foundation of your next success, whether it’s talking to yourself nicely for the day, getting out of your comfort zone or just getting out the door – that’s where success really lies. Being successful is overcoming, surviving and keeping at it even when the going gets tough. We're all successful in some way, even if we don't realise it.
What does success mean for you?