We hear it being used all the time but never take the time to ponder about what success actually means to us. It is a word that is used so much, and it mostly represents an orienting element in one’s life, because one tends to do all it takes to display an image about themselves as a successful person, especially in front of others. We might consider someone as a successful person, but he might look like a failure from your friend’s perspective based on his definition of success, or vice versa. It can look a bit funny, because we might not have common definitions of success, and might even start to feel bad, because might think that we should not have contradictory opinions with our friends, which should not be the case.
We can get influenced from other people’s opinions and perceive success from their own perspective, and never take the time to question whether this definition is something that resonates with our own goals and values. Parents usually tell their children that they should get good grades, get a certain degree, get employed, get married and then be considered as a successful person, who enjoys a happy life. However, even though some of them manage to accomplish all these things, they still do not enjoy a happy life, but they can be considered as successful in sight of their parents.
Prepare your own meaning of success
Knowing its significance, it is important to take the time to write our own definition of success, or reminding ourselves about a definition that somebody else has given that we agree with. Dictionary.com defines success as “the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.”
This is a definition that might be broadly acceptable, but it is also important to have a more personalized version of it. You can take this definition and rephrase it based on your short-term and long-term goals and values. Using your own words can help you have a more compelling sentence which you can use throughout your life. Then, whenever one of your friend considers someone as successful, but you don’t, you can remind yourself that it is okay to have different opinions. You are simply using different criteria.
It is possible that your definition of success might change, because you might have different goals, different circumstances later on. Yet, it is still important to have your own definition and not let the society impose you one that does not resonate with you. If you think that you can help your friends in their own lives, then you can share your own definition with them to inspire them about their own. However, if you do not feel comfortable, as you might get ridiculed or discouraged by others, you might not publicly share it. You do not have to get other people’s approval about it.
Success is only one example. You can take the same approach with other definitions as well. You can take productivity as a plausible definition that might need your customized version.
Originally published at Fatos Morina.