Success is defined as “achieving a desired outcome” and also the “attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence” in the Mariam-Webster dictionary. If one further extrapolates this, success at its root is very personal and subjective but also society based. As human beings we have been fed the idea from a very early age that in order to be defined as a successful individual we must obtain and surpass that benchmark set by others before us. This means you must achieve a better grade than your competitor, you must run faster than the other athlete, your house must be larger than your neighbor’s, your business must be more profitable than others, and so on, albeit the personal cost in obtaining these goals. I believe we have wasted our time in accomplishing these objectives if our intention in attaining them has been to be defined as a successful human being by society’s standards.
Boxing ourselves into society’s definition of success lacks creativity, passion, and sincere drive. If we move outside of this and define success according to our own personal gauge, as human beings we would be far more genuine and happier. This process should be instituted at a very early age. Our children should be guided and allowed to listen to the thing that gets them excited. We should encourage our children to understand and nurture their inner voice rather than imposing the society’s success standards. Additionally, this muscle can be fostered at any age. We shouldn’t fall into the trap of letting our achievements define us. We should understand we are far more than our ‘successes’. In doing so we don’t cage ourselves in, rather allow ourselves to enter the world of unbounded creativity, and it is here that genuine happiness and personal success lives.
So what can one do today to break from the world’s success standard? First, we must listen to our inner voice, what is it that we want to achieve and more importantly why? We must ensure our intention is in the right place. Moreover, we must have the courage to not be defined by the world’s success standards and further challenge those beliefs. ‘Success’ does not mean being the prettiest, richest, most famous, having the most likes or followers on social media, or being the most intelligent, handsome, or having a certain career. Real unpretentious success looks far different. It is doing what we are passionate about without caring for the end result, it means continuously questioning our intention behind our work, and knowing that it is unbounded and immeasurable. In embracing this definition of success we function from a place of abundance and would have no other choice but to thrive. It is time we understand that we are far more than our achievements and begin to redefine success for ourselves.
Originally published at medium.com