I had an interesting time titling this article, I must have typed and deleted the title a bazillion times. I don’t think I’ve ever actually thought about success and whether or not I’m qualified to talk about it. I’ve written blogs on success before, but usually those came at a moment where I was feeling successful and didn’t think much of it. I decided to dig a little deeper and see if I could define success for myself.
When you look up the definition of success in the dictionary, or the inter-nary as I like to call it you find this:
- the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
- the attainment of popularity or profit.
- a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.
Let’s take a closer look at the definitions.
The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
True, if you set out to accomplish something and you do, you will most definitely feel successful. Or if you feel like you are doing something that has purpose and accomplish it, again you would feel like you succeeded at something great. I’ve set several goals in my life that I have accomplished and have felt that sense of accomplishment and success. I wanted to be in publications and currently have 22 frames with several snippets of articles and interviews in magazines, newspapers and television. I set out to be a full time artist and this is what I do for a living. I decided that I was going to create art that I enjoy and not cater outside of what I enjoy and I’ve developed a following for my style of art. For all intent and purpose I am a success, but I have new goals that I haven’t accomplished yet. Does that mean that I’m not a success? The fact of the matter is that we will always have new goals as we move forward through life, so I’m not sure if this definition fully covers success. I think its a partial definition, like winning a game of hopscotch and proclaiming “Success!”
I guess if you are popular and make a bit of money you would feel successful. I have a friend who constantly tells me I’m famous, I don’t believe her, but she insists that it’s true. I’ve had moments waiting in line at the grocery store with an awkward amount of groceries juggled in my arms (because who needs a cart) and had people recognize me and tell me how amazing they think my art is. I also make a pretty good living with my artwork, but in all honesty I’m figuring all this stuff out. Do I feel successful when I’m waiting in line at the gas station for the bathroom and someone recognizes me and wants to take a picture? Probably a little. I think this definition doesn’t really cover success, you can lose your popularity and profit, and that would probably not feel all that great if that is your definition of success.
a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.
Again, reaching a desired goal and making huge amounts of money could make you feel successful. As I stated before, goals are always changing, evolving and being reached. In fact, it’s impossible to fail at anything unless you give up right away, and money comes and goes. I don’t think this is a good definition either.
Looking closely I have the realization that success is a feeling. All three of these definitions would help you feel successful but I don’t think any of them are the cause for success. Like most definitions, it’s based on the external environment, other people acknowledging that you are a success is based on the above criteria. This doesn’t mean that you feel successful to yourself. Besides, if you are dependent on what other people think of you, then you have a long roller coaster ride of emotions ahead of you.
I think feeling successful is up to you. If you set the goal to smile every day, laugh, dance around in your underwear like a fool, enjoy the sun, look in the mirror and fall in love with yourself, I think these little things are what success should be rated on. Obviously, it’s not the typical way of seeing success, but I do think that if these things were important we would have more people striving and aiming for a goal to just be happy and enjoy life… Have fun, live long and prosper.