[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ow do you define success? It’s a question I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I mean, it’s so subjective, isn’t it? Everyone defines their own success based on their own ambition, and then project it onto others. One person’s success may not be good enough for another. It’s all a bit of a mess, really. Just live for yourself, y’all.
For me, success is a weird one. I’m not sure how I would define it – not in one succinct dictionary like sentence, anyway. Success, for me, is just doing well. It’s achieving your goals, following your dream and sticking to it, and generally working bloody hard to do so. But it’s not all about reaching the very top. If that’s what success is to you then I salute you, but it’s not for me. For me, success is about the journey and working hard to get as far as you can. I may not make it to the very top of whatever career I choose to go into. Hell, I may not make it to the very top of this whole blogging thang, but I’ll count myself as successful if I give it a bloody good go and go as far as I physically can. Sometimes you don’t have to win the race to still be a great athlete, and the same applies to everything else.
Finding a balance between achieving and happiness is just as important as reaching the top. Or at least, that’s how I’ve come to see it.
It’s not easy though.
I’m naturally a bit of a know-it-all. I like to be the best and rarely start something if I know I won’t be good at it. It’s part of the reason I rarely take up new hobbies or challenges. If there’s a chance I’ll be shit, I quit. Easy.
It’s a nightmare though. It means I get bored easily, I’m complacent and never really have any drive to succeed because I’m already pretty confident that I will anyway. Because of this I wouldn’t say that I was successful in doing the things I know I can do easily. It’s nice to do things, and it doesn’t diminish the fact that I’ve achieved them, but I don’t feel satisfied by them. The only way I ever feel myself to be a ‘success’ is when I’ve had to grind away.
Moving to Paris is one of the things I’m most proud of in my life, ever. Sure my degree was great but I managed with that fine, and I’ve done a few other cool things, but Paris is the icing on the cake for me. I moved to studio flat in the centre of the Latin Quarter, attended university in a language I didn’t speak, and overcame obstacles like setting up a phone and wifi contract in French, opening a French bank account, making friends and generally not spiralling into a pit of depression. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I failed at all of those things at least twice. A particular ‘highlight’ was having an argument in French with the lady at the bank about whether my card had been delivered or not. It had but she basically couldn’t be bothered to find it. It took half an hour of my best French to get it off her.
As well as Paris, top of my list of successes is this blog. I haven’t reached the top of the game, nor am I even close, but I’ve worked hard and enjoyed every second of it. I’ve argued with brands over the infamous do-follow link situation, I’ve combatted low self-confidence, and I’ve shared my life on the internet for all to see and judge. It’s made me who I am and I couldn’t be more proud of how far I’ve come in this online world. To me, nettle & blackberry is a success.
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[left][/left][right]Because, ultimately, success isn’t something tangible. It’s not something obvious or defined. Success is something we find in ourselves. We can use the ideas and judgments of others to aid us, but ultimately success comes from our attitude to what’s going on around us and what we have achieved.
We set our own bar by which to judge ourselves, and we can choose to compare that to others’, or we can not. It’s up to us to find that balance. After all, there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, just as there’s nothing wrong with going completely your own way in life. We choose our path and how we see the world.
So how do you define success? Do you define it by how happy you are? How far up the career ladder you are? Family? A large social bubble? Generally being all round awesome?
Whatever you choose to judge your own success by is a-okay in my book. That’s your success and it makes you happy. You should own it and be proud of what makes you feel amazing. After all, success is really just a made up thing. It can be anything you want it to be. x[/right] 0