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What Does It Mean to Be Successful?

We spend so much of our time and lives striving for success, but have you ever asked yourself, "what does it mean to be successful?"

People strive to be successful, sacrificing years of their life in chase of this goal, yet... what are they really trying to accomplish? They say they are seeking a successful career and a successful life. The word "successful" is thrown out there so often that it, eventually, loses meaning entirely. What does it mean to be successful?

The truth is that so few of us will never earn seven-figure earnings. The truth is that most of us will never be an NFL quarterback or pitch for the Yankees. Yet many of us understand that we don't need to reach these lofty goals to be successful. That may be so, but, if these things won't make us successful, what will?

What are your goals?

When accessing what it means to be successful, the first question should be what are you trying to get. Naturally, this answer is different for everyone. Are you trying to get rich? Write the Great American Novel? Send someone into space? Save a life? What does it mean to be successful to you, specifically?

Perhaps your goals are less extreme than that. Or maybe you have very low goals. Maybe you don't know what your goals are. That's all well and good, but it's important to consider the measure by which you are to rank your level of success.

If you have trouble determining your goals, ask yourself this: what do you value?

What do you enjoy doing?

Work is best when it becomes play. Play should not be work, but when work is play... things become both easier and more satisfactory. You like to garden? Make things with your hands? Calculate numbers? Write? Craft? Pursuing your happiness can lead to a successful life in and of itself. 

But how do you go about that? The first thing to do is to consider what practical applications can be made from your passions. Some are easy. Like making stuff? Go into the artisan trade, either as a designer or something. Other things are less straight-forward. If all you like to do is play video games, you can become a pro-gamer, a Let's Player, or video game designer... but these fields are narrow. You may not find success down these paths... but, if that's what you must do...

Struggle

Artwork by Paola Delucca

Success is not easy. If it were, it would be a very unfulfilling accomplishment. Success comes only as a product of blood, sweat, and tears. It comes when you have transcended your prior limitations in order to accomplish something great, something massive, something incredible.

You may fail. J.K. Rowling was homeless before publishing Harry Potter. Or you may have a great start, only to stumble. But you cannot call yourself a success story until you have overcome adversity.

In time.

Compromise

Many feel that you should never compromise. If you compromise, that means you have given up on your dreams. You cannot be successful if you compromise in the face of your objectives, no matter what your personal answer to "what does it mean to be successful?" may be.

That is what some believe.

But if you are able to compromise your dreams, that may prove your success. It proves that you are able to make hard decisions. Sometimes, you make the right decision, which may not be what you want, but it leads you closer to your ultimate goals. Otherwise... well, you may stumble, but you will rise.

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