Success is mandatory. Or, is it? We all hear and read about how to be successful before you turn a specific age. We’re bombarded by articles, books, and podcasts on how to be successful. It’s the same story in a different format all the time.
We all get swallowed by societal expectations. Sometimes, we lose ourselves in the process. Our own personal world gets muddled up with the ones around us. The Minimalists’ essay, Successfool, gives great insight that the cushy paycheck or nice car does not define success.
Ask yourself the hard questions. What is it that gives your life meaning? Is it working that 9-to-5 and bringing home the bacon to your family? Is it climbing up the corporate ladder and being a C-level executive by the time you hit 40? If it is, then it’s well and good. Just don’t confuse what you want with what the world expects of you.
However, don’t be afraid to want what you want. Do you want more dogs to make you happy? Then, go for it! Do you want more time with your family and kids? Surely, you have to make some adjustments. Do you want to become a hermit and start your own bee farm? Then, start inching your way towards that journey. Just because something different from what society tells you, doesn’t mean you’re wrong.
But, knowing what you want is one thing. The doing process is another. Once you’ve identified what success means to you, then do something about it. You don’t have to make drastic changes. A little goes a long way. Sometimes, a little pivot allows you to grow exponentially.
Dare to define your own success. Find a version that sets you free. You don’t have to fit in a mold just like everyone else. Later on, you’ll just find yourself miserable. What’s important is finding joy and meaning in your life. That is what’s life about, isn’t it? And, you do have to accept that this can be different than most people’s.
I guess this is me talking to myself in a way that I should’ve years ago. As my birthday draws nearer, I am quite at peace now than I was last year or the year before that. Previously, every birthday was a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I was always depressive, contemplating how I don’t measure up with my peers or with my own expectations. But, I didn’t realize those measurements were non-existent. I can choose whatever measurement that I want. I didn’t realize that until I quit corporate.
My success now means being able to focus on my health. I thrive in the flexibility that my projects afford me. I can easily leave the city for some nights out-of-town. Today, I can accompany my mom to her doctor’s appointments. I am able to find time for the things that really matter to me. Unfortunately, this is a more difficult road. However, I am not in any way regretting the path I took. I know I am truly living the life that I want.
The bottom line is find what feels right. Find what it is that resonates best with you. Make success your own, not someone else’s. It may not be easy, but at least it yours.