What is success in life and how do we measure it?
Driving home I was listening to yet another interesting Ted talk on the subject of success. A word one can only describe as something positive, but what a relative term. What is success? My browser describes it as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”
The aim or purposed is then defined by someone. So I should narrow down the question to “What is success in life?” and how do we measure it?
In society we often define success as a certain set of tick in the boxes:
Do you own property? Do you have a steady job? Do you have a family? Preferably even children. Are you wealthy? These are all tick in the boxes of someone we could commonly define as being a successful person. Right? A very successful person might have them all, while a moderately successful person might have 1 or two.
If you don’t agree with this, turn it around. Would you describe an unemployed person successful? Or someone who is poor? Or someone without a home? Or someone who has spent his or her life in solitude? Unlikely. We have a set of rules for successful people. That’s just how it is.
Now I began wondering when i would see myself as successful. If I have a family? If I am incredible good at my job? If I am rich? How do I want to define success for myself? To what do I give priority in life? How do I want to spend my time? Towards which vision of life am I growing? Should I have a strategy for it? Should I have a vision for it? In order to be successful I should have a goal, so what is that goal?
At work I spent my days defining goals I want to reach. I develop strategies and have (not so complicated) Excel sheets on how those goals will be reached. Why do I neglect to have a detailed vision and strategy for the course of my life? Some of you might say that life is not meant to be micromanaged and should just happen. And to some degree I agree. You must always allow space in your life to the unpredictable, the unexpected. Often it will just find its way in. Like illness, or love, or new opportunities, but what if lack of planning will result in lack of achievement? What if the boat just endlessly floats there, bumping into things, but never really taking a direction. Until it sinks.
Do we run the risk of life just passing us by without stopping to think where it is going. I often feel like that. We wake up, look at our phones, kiss our loved one and spend an hour in traffic. We arrive at a job we like or dislike, eat a dry sandwich for lunch (watch our diet), we spent and hour driving back and then stop ourselves working out, because we are too tired or let’s be honest lazy, eat and then go to bed for more of the same the next day. Weekends are filled with obligations and practical trips to the supermarket or even worse… cleaning. And before you know it, ten years have passed without you even noticing.
You want a shocking number?
When it comes to extreme averages, teenagers take the prize. Their daily average time spent on social media is nine hours a day. That's longer than most people spend sleeping or in school.
Think of how they could spend this time. Working on what they define as a successful life. No one will ever remember that one great day where I spent 9 hours on Instagram. Will they?
For now I have made a little summary of the goals I want to achieve in the coming time, which I make to be successful:
Travel as much as possible
Learn about who I am, what I want and how I want to live
Be the most honest and true version of myself
Surround myself with people who are close to my heart
Inspire people to be the best version of themselves