Get a college degree, find a high paying job, meet your soulmate, buy a house, get married and have kids. The exact order of events which seems to greatly measure how successful or unsuccessful a person is. Skip one or get the order mixed up and you run the risk of not being seen as the perfect example of a successful person. But what is success anyway?
This popular word seems to denote a person who is on top of the world – but what that top represents might vary from person to person. The point is that only you can create your own measures of success because by blindly following the mold, you might find yourself less than happy at the end of the day.
There are stories of people who have built three businesses before graduating from college and whose lives are completely filled up with happiness due to this achievement. But there are others who find little to no happiness in career-related achievements. And that’s okay. The whole point of happiness lies in figuring out what makes you feel good and sticking to it no matter the times. Here are some tips to help you in such an endeavor.
5 ways to create your own measures of success:
1. What matters to you?
The first step to success is figuring out what the meaning of life is for you. Think about what makes you happy. Is it your significant other? Do you rejoice by the mere image of yourself surrounded by five kids? Or do you feel that the only way you can be happy is by climbing the corporate ladder all the way to the top? It doesn’t matter where you are going – it just matters that you are happy while doing it.
It’s also very important to stop comparing yourself to others. People are different. Just because you might be ready to move to a new place and your best friend isn’t does not mean that he/she is less competent or resilient than you. It just means that you are two different people with two very different goals in life. Focus on your goals and where you want to be ten years from now.
2. Inner fulfillment should prevail over material things
Having a lot of money, designer clothes and a lavish home might sound like a matter of prestige, but it’s inner fulfillment that will bring about true happiness. So don’t focus on accumulating material wealth, thinking that it somehow measures how successful you are.
Instead, work on finding your true calling in life or your passion. Whether that’s helping others through life or saving different animal species from extinction. Don’t find your dream to be too big. If you can dream it, you can certainly achieve it – all with a bit of effort.
“Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give you get. What you see in others exists in you.” – Zig Ziglar
3. Set goals and commit yourself to the journey
Have you figured out what would make you happy in life? If you were to achieve it down the line, you would feel like the most successful person that has walked the Earth? The epiphany that uncovered your hopes and dreams won’t mean much unless you figure out a way to turn your dreams into reality. To do that, you need a plan – one that would include all the steps separating you from your version of a fulfilled life.
Bear in mind that setting goals is the easy part – it’s actually working towards achieving them that’s a challenge. Focus on every step of your success journey and don’t skip any steps. All of them will lead you towards your version of happiness – the only version that should matter to you.
4. Always do more than the day before
Not every day will be the best day of your life. There will be moments when the best you can give is 20% of your maximum capacity, and that is perfectly fine. But you should never give up on yourself – even if it feels like you haven’t been reaching your goals as planned. There will come a time when you will feel more rested and enthusiastic about the journey, and that’s when you should give it all you got.
Commit yourself to giving just a little bit more than you were willing to give yesterday and a little bit less than you will give tomorrow. That will bring you closer to your ultimate goal of success and the feeling of progress will almost be tangible. And that’s when you will really start to feel like you have set the right measures of success for yourself.
“The only thing that has kept me around is my effort.” – Ray Lewis
5. Be ready for setbacks
The road to success and happiness is rarely a smooth one. If there’s one thing you can definitely count on it’s that there will be roadblocks as you go about your way. It might seem like the world is working against you at some point, but this is why you need to develop some resilience and not be discouraged. Instead, learn from the things that went wrong and focus on fixing the error of your ways.
Ultimately, mistakes won’t be the only thing stopping you from complete happiness. Other people will too. As you start to create your own measures of success and happiness, you’ll most likely notice that other people have their own idea of what success is. Since, naturally, every person believes their approach is the right one, you might be faced with some backlash and judgmental questions from others.
Your job is not to pay attention to them and never let them waver you. Once you stumble upon a person with completely different measures of success, don’t repeat their mistakes. Instead, work towards helping the other person achieve their version of success. Remember – that will help you fulfill your inner being, which is even more important than material wealth. If by helping others you also help yourself, there’s no reason not to make it a part of your daily rituals.