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The definition of success

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What is success? How do you define it?

I've been looking at my life and debating my personal success. I'm doing superb at work, having achieved what promises to be an obscene paycheck and a position of power, and moderately well in my home life. My social life, however, is rather poor in contrast to some of my friends. Is this success?

I kind of think so. I believe my lack of social standing is due to my abstaining from certain... social activities that many people seek out because of my own personal standards. Despite this I am finding myself reunited with old senior high friends on a suspiciously frequent basis.

I find my own current status to be fairly successful, having taken what I had and improved on it, in what I believe to be a major way.

I have to ponder though, is there some aspect I'm missing? Some flaw in my own actions or personality that is indicative of failure? It's an interesting thought, and I figured I'd share it. Your turn!

I'm not asking for your input on my situation, but rather that you share your thoughts on success, and personal achievement. If you have the time and patience to share it, you could even give me one of your stories as I have given you mine.
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ConsidSelf's avatar
The following is a quote! Origin author is Nick Bertke


I don’t think success can be measured. I think success is defined by your expectations, aspirations, and attitudes towards reaching them. I also don’t think success is ever an end result, because no one ever reaches a junction and decides to stop trying. That seems to be the way of things. It’s rather like evolution.

Because success can’t really be measured, it is also difficult to compare. For example, a beginner motorcyclist might not ride as proficiently as the professional next to him, but he’s getting out there and living the dream of learning. To him, this is success. To the professional, the beginner’s performance might be considered a failure. I think success is subjective.

Today’s education system will tell you otherwise. It will teach you to prioritize goals and ideals other than your own, which seems backwards in a world where success is subjective to the person pursuing it.

For example, Jane is an avid illustrator and fills her schoolbooks with drawings whenever the teacher isn’t looking. Jane does this because she knows the education system has an agenda for her that she does not want. If Jane’s teacher were to catch her drawing in class, she would be punished in front of her classmates and encouraged to believe that her own goals are of no value and should be discarded. Not only is Jane’s freethinking and self-identity now jeopardized, but she is now at risk of discarding what is important to her and never achieving her own success. If Jane were to leave the classroom and walk into a publisher interested in her work, her teacher and education would systematically deem her a failure.

One size doesn’t fit all because success is different for everyone. It’s funny how the world seems backwards sometimes.