For too many people, success is this elusive, super-high benchmark.
Way, way up there, you can find success. You just need to work harder, smarter, longer, and with fewer breaks to achieve it.
The thing of it is, success is not some grandiose notion that a very few can reach. When we stop seeing success as this almost unreachable bar, we can accomplish more regularly, and improve our lives on multiple levels.
What IS success?
Success is defined by dictionary.com as:
1: The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
2: The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3: A performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors.
4: A person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.
Simple, right? Except the trouble is, we often set the endeavors and goals at a really high level. We wind up focusing on the attainment of wealth, position and honors, rather than the simplicity of the accomplishment of our goals.
For that reason, you can publish a book, but still not be a success because you are not a bestseller. You can become an actor, but still not be a success because you are not on a popular TV show or Broadway. Or you could pay off all your debt and have money in your bank account, but you are still not a success because you haven’t thousands or millions of dollars to your name.
That’s the problem with setting our success bar too high. We frequently succeed, but we do not see it as such because there is still too much of an idea of lack and scarcity.
How do we change the bar for success?
First, and most importantly, this is not something we can do for the world at large. Each and every one of us individually, you and I, have to change on our own. Change is inevitable, it always happens, but without our individual intent, awareness and mindfulness, we seldom direct or control it. Changing where we set the success bar is wholly in our control, but we can only do it on the individual level.
Second, this is not going to be instantaneous. One of the issues we contend with in this society is our obsession with quick-fix solutions. This is something that is going to take time, because shifting your mindset, in especial with numerous outside influences, is challenging.
That being written, to change our success bar we need to not see it as “lowering” the bar. Let’s face it, lowered bars are why the US government is the mess that it is right now, the anti-vax and flatearthers have ANY traction, and climate change is not being treated as the clear and present danger it should be.
What we need to do is instead just move the bar. It is not a question of higher or lower, it’s a question of where we set it. One way to do this is to look to a wholly different bar for success than that which we tend to.
Success in the short term leads to long-term success
We are constantly looking at these overarching ideals as success. Extreme wealth, big homes, fancy cars and so on and so forth.
Instead, we need to look to near-term successes.
For example — do you have a to-do list? If so, can completing it be considered success? How about finishing two-thirds of it? That is a good bar to set.
Another example — let’s say you are looking to get into better shape. Yes, success is frequently seen as the end goal. How about seeing success for daily goals? You ate healthier, got in exercise of some sort, and perhaps avoided the cookies at the office — all of these can be successes.
When you look at how our society overall views success, this seems petty. However, when we can see it on this level, we can better develop the tools and skills we need to reach those higher bars and longer-term goals.
The other thing to keep in mind here is that success is seldom all-or-nothing. Partial success is still a success.
Even failure can be a success
How many great inventions came from failures? It’s not a rhetorical question, there are dozens of inventions that were intended to be one thing that failed; yet the failure became a success. Very little of our world is so black-and-white that this is not a constant thing. Most of our lives occur in the spaces between the extremes.
Finally, it’s super necessary to acknowledge that YOU are worthy and deserving of success. You need not be smarter, thinner, richer, wiser or anything else. Right here, right now, you are worthy and deserving. Do not sell yourself short, nor let anyone else do so, either.
You can do it. Go do the things you do, and know you can and will succeed.