How Do You Define Personal Success?
What a loaded question huh? I mean success has so many different facets doesn’t it. What category should we explore: financial, romantic, physical, emotional, academic, professional, spiritual? There are so many different types of success it’s hard to qualify a statement like “I’m successful.” It’s probably better to start by asking “Where does success begin?” For me, though, personal success is the most important. I mean, I’d love to be at the top of my professional field, making millions of dollars, after earning my Ph.D., but that won’t all come at once, and it’s certainly a lot of hard work, but would all of that mean anything if my own personal parameters of success weren’t met? Knowing what success means to you is probably the single most important step in actually achieving that success. If you really didn’t know where you were going or why you were pushing so hard for something, even if you achieved that goal, it probably would hold little value, at the very least when you were done, it might feel like a hollow victory.
My guess is even if your dreams and aspirations are vastly different from everyone else’s, if you hold a truly vested interest in what you are doing, you’ll find a whole lot more satisfaction in the endeavor. For a long time, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, I bounced, I made odd choices, and I traveled around the world searching for something that would give me fulfillment. What I eventually realized is this. There’s nothing in this world that will fulfill my deepest desires and wants. Fulfillment and contentment come from within. Sorry to get all Zen on you, but if Buddha was here, he might agree with me. Throughout all my travels, my imagination and want for telling stories never diminished, never went away. I always had a story in my head, I always nurtured the desire to write. It wasn’t until I put aside other distractions that I realized writing is not only what I want to do, it’s what I need to do. Interestingly enough, it took me several more years after that realization to seriously commit to writing regardless of publication success. That’s where my personal success began to flourish. When I write, I feel successful, and that makes all the difference to me. In fact, I just received yet another rejection letter for a submission I sent in for consideration. But you know what, I'm good with that, because getting that letter is just confirmation that I'm trying.
Like I said, personal success is the most important type of success to me. I think if you find that, the other types of success will follow, at least in some small part. Of course, there is no guarantee of reaching financial success because you’ve found your true professional calling. There’s a lot of starving artists and actors out there who are totally happy pursuing their dreams. But on the other side, I’m sure there are a few investment bankers swimming in cash that are just a bit unhappy that they sold their souls for monetary gain. As I’ve said before, finding balance in your life makes things worthwhile; knowing your own definition of success, makes it that much easier. Good luck.
Thanks for reading. Questions and Comments are welcome.