Success is defined in two ways in the Oxford Dictionary: “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose“, and “the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status“. However, I have never been a big fan of how the word success is used. In most cases, successful is an adjective used to describe someone who makes a lot of money and/or someone who is famous. And I don’t see it like that. I wondered if people really believe that you need to be rich and famous to be successful, so I decided to ask “what is success?” to random people in Twitter, and as an open question in Spring. me. Here are the responses:
“I think success is just growing up and doing what you want, doing something that makes you happy. Being in a job that you enjoy, and that enables you to make enough £ to live comfortably. To be able to be independent, to take care of yourself. That’s success innit.”
“Aiming for a goal and reach it.”
“Getting the end result you wanted.”
“Finding something you love and turning it into a career if you’re talking long term.”
“Success is when you achieve something you’ve been working for for so long and it makes you feel satisfied with yourself.”
“Success is having enough money, etc.to meet your needs & enough extra to help out anyone you chose to help, and not being a jerk. That’s real important. Not being a jerk.”
“Happiness in your personal struggle.”
“Constant innovation, accepting that nothing is as perfect as it can be. This need to continually improve drives evolution and progress. That is success.”
From all these answers I got something really important: not everyone actually thinks that you need to be famous and rich to be successful. So, why do we keep acting as if rich and famous people are the only successful people on Earth? I have heard so many celebrities speak as if they are better and more successful than other people because they are known and millionaire, and it is upsetting. I like to believe that is just a too generalised and overused mindset. Before I continue, thanks to all the kind people who answered my questions. You keep this blog going.
Success is about goals, happiness and satisfaction: having some aims in life and working hard to achieve them, while you have a good time. Success is linked too often to status, money and fame, what leads to a sense of failure in people who don’t have any of these things. If your aim in life is being millionaire, I understand you feel successful when reaching that goal. But that doesn’t mean that someone that works in a hospital as a nurse is any less successful, if that is the career they always wanted. Personally, I only feel successful when I achieve things I wanted with all my heart. Back in school days, I would pass exams with good grades but I didn’t care, because they were just exams to me: I didn’t pass them because I wanted to pass from the bottom of my heart, I passed them because I had to pass them, as said by my teachers and family. However, the minute I finished writing my first book ever, I never felt more successful in my life: and that was something that didn’t gave me any fame, money or similar. It was just for me. My own life goal met. My hard work paid off, and I was satisfied and happy.
Various people in the quotes above have linked success with achieving something: I agree. In life, everyone has goals and aims, even in a subconscious way. Becoming a singer, publishing a book, being a football player, winning elections to be a president, finding love, travelling, marrying, having children… As diverse humans, we all have diverse objectives in life. Sometimes we don’t realise we have them: but we do. There is always something we really want to do or get: it is within human nature having wishes and dreams. However, not everyone pursues them. Because they are oppressed, because they don’t have time, because they don’t believe in themselves. And it makes me sad, because I truly believe that you can’t be happy if you are not working towards something you want. Self-satisfaction is not selfish: it is important. It is key to be happy. Having our own needs met. Don’t forget about that. Before anything else, make yourself happy.
Another thing to take into account is that after reaching a goal, we always set a new one in an automatic way. Some of our goals will never be met while we are alive. Some of our goals will never be met even if we die. You can spend your whole like working towards something, and never having it. And that is not bad, if you enjoyed the journey. That’s why you need to make sure you are not suffering the whole way to meet your objective. There is always going to be pain in everything, but if there is a continuous pain, rather than a momentous bad situation, you need to change something. The journey is more important than the destination. The result doesn’t always justifies the method. Yes, you have to work hard to achieve things. But that doesn’t mean the hard work needs to make you feel miserable. In addition, in life nothing can be taken for granted. Don’t let time pass by: the sad truth is that you never know when your time will come, so it is better to do things as soon as possible. Life is short when we waste it but long when we spend it correctly.
Lastly, I would like to point out that your success won’t always be praised or rewarded. That’s why the number of awards and the level of praises don’t measure success. Neither do grades in school, nor medals in ceremonies A lot of people who do great things for humanity go unnoticed every year. Doctors, nurses, firefighters, activists, psychologists, teachers… People who have “average” and normal jobs, who save lives every minute, who work hard to fight for justice, who are in charge of educating the next generation. Those people win in life every single day. But you don’t see them in magazines and newspapers. They rarely receive awards as “woman/man of the year”. Though they are successful heroes who help their communities. Awards are nice: praises are nice. But just because you don’t get them, it doesn’t mean you haven’t done anything important.
On conclusion: you are the only one that can measure how successful you are. Don’t ever thing your aspirations are too small. Don’t ever thing your dreams are too big. As long as you worked hard and you are happy and satisfied with what you did, you are successful, my friend. It is not about money, fame or status, unless those are your goals of course. If you want to be a model, fine. If you want to be a doctor, fine. If you want to have kids, fine. If you want to travel the world, fine. Just keep in mind that the successful human is not the one that never fell: it is the one that never gave up. And be positive. Life isn’t perfect: the struggle is real. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.
Reflecting a bit,
Emilie H. Featherington