Defining Success

     What does it mean
to be successful? A high-powered job? Bags of money? A fancy house and
expensive sports car? Living up to the expectations others have for you?

(source)

     To me, success is
far more personal than any of these things. Success is about living the life
you want to lead, and therefore it goes hand in hand with happiness. Money and
power may be the keys to success for some people, but for others it could be
having a family or doing a job they love. I believe that the saying “money can’t
buy you happiness” is very true. Having money can make your life easier, as you
have fewer worries and the freedom to do what you enjoy, but this doesn’t
guarantee happiness or success. We all have different goals and dreams for
ourselves, so we cannot ascribe one definition to the term ‘successful’, and
many people can live lives that they feel are successful without bags of cash.

     Many people also
confuse their own definitions of success with those of others. Society has
constructed an image of a successful person based largely around careers;
someone who has a high position and makes plenty of money, and has some degree
of recognition, if not fame. Images of business suit often pop into my head
when the term is used. Often we feel we are successful if our parents think we
are, fulfilling the dreams that they have for us. But it’s important to remember
whose life it is that you are living; yours. We shouldn’t feel obliged to live
up to the expectations society, or anyone else, has for us. We need to figure
out what we want in life, in order to feel that we have been successful
ourselves, regardless of others’ opinions. This is by no means easy for
everybody, especially if your dreams aren’t supported by others, or you feel
that you will be disappointing them, but it will be worth it in the long run
once you find happiness.
     People can
achieve success within a small area or field as well. Maybe you don’t have
worldwide fame, but you are a well-known face in your own town. Maybe you excel
in your chosen field of work, even if it’s not going to make you incredibly famous.
And success doesn’t just happen overnight. It involves hard work and dedication
to making your life as good as it can possibly be. We have to measure our
success in small milestones, building up to our biggest dreams. A solo art show,
or an article published in a magazine, are achievements to be celebrated, and
act as stepping stones to something bigger. We have to have patience and
perseverance in life, and be realistic about what we are setting out to do, but
at the same time, don’t be afraid to dream big. Figure out what you need to be
happy, really and truly happy – not just settling for content. Reach beyond
what you thought you were capable of and you might surprise yourself.
     Life is messy and
complicated and difficult, so don’t make it harder for yourself by compromising
on the things you really want. You are the only person who can decide whether
or not your life is a successful one, based on your own goals and desires.
Dream big and work hard, and one day you’ll find what you want out of life.

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