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Only You Can Define Success

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

Many people believe that money is the ultimate success. However, there are many wealthy people that are utterly miserable. Maybe success is about more than just money. You can define success for yourself. It can be about money if that’s what you choose. It can also be about something else like spending time with family, helping friends, or the opportunity to travel. You can set several criteria and attempt to achieve them. What’s important is to create a definition for success that resides within your values, allows you to enjoy life, and avoids feelings of regret when you get older. This is easier to determine than you might think. Your definition of success is unique and yours to determine.

Consider these ideas:

1. Time. Many people value time above all else. Most of us wouldn’t enjoy having a bunch of money if we never had the opportunity to enjoy it. Do you wish you had more free time? How much free time do you need to enjoy your life to the fullest?

2. Friends. Do you value your friends? How much do your friendships mean to you? How many friends do you need to feel successful? How much time would you need to spend with your friends to feel like your life is a success?

3. Personal development. Do you need to learn to play an instrument or to speak German to feel successful? A college degree? Climb a peak over 25,000 feet? Learn a new modality? Be able to meditate for three hours straight? Perform 10 perfect pull ups?

4. Providing for your family. Maybe you believe that success means giving your child the opportunity to attend college. You might also want to be able to pay for family vacations. Do you want your kids to grow up in the suburbs? Send your spouse to college?

5. Adventure. Maybe success means living an adventurous life. You might race motorcycles on the weekend and train as a Navy Seal during the week. It’s possible that taking a train across Tibet and living in a commune is your cup of tea.

6. Happiness. Success might be all about happiness to you. Maybe you measure success each day by how happy you were.

7. Goals. Success can be measured by how successful you are in achieving your goals. Many people enjoy the challenge of setting big goals and having the determination and discipline to make them a reality. Does this sound like you?

8. Living to an ideal. Do you have a strong vision of how the perfect person should live? Do you have a strong moral code? Maybe your brand of success revolves around how well you live up to that ideal. What type of person do you want to be each day?

9. Career. Some people consider themselves successful if they have a successful career. Regular promotions and greater wages can be one way to measure success but maybe you want to excel at a career that serves others.

10. Doing for others. The ultimate measure of success for some people is helping others. Many people thrive on being useful and kind.

Your definition of success will likely have multiple criteria. Having a lot of free time might be important to you, but not at the cost of your children going without food. Examine your own values and beliefs and create your own version of success. Project yourself far into the future and imagine the type of life you want to look back upon. Now, adopt a definition of success that works for you!

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