When we were kids, success came in different forms. Some of them we laugh at now looking back at them. I would measure success based off of how fast I could beat my new video game or how well I played at my soccer game. Some kids measured their success on how tall they can build their lego castle before it collapses. As humans, since we were playing in sandboxes, we challenged ourselves. With the same amount of pressure we put on ourselves now. Kids put that pressure on themselves to create the best sand castle in their Kindergarten class. When it falls, they get frustrated. But when it goes as they planned, they feel invincible, satisfied and they view that as their success. The same way an adult feels when accomplishing a career-related goal.
As we grew up, we began to measure success differently. At 16, I began to measure success based off the grades on my report card. With every ‘A’ I received, I felt accomplished. At 18, I moved out for the first time and measured success on doing laundry alone, cooking family dishes alone, paying my bills easily, etc. At 22, I got my first job related to my field and felt even more accomplished. The success wave was what I was riding on at that point and nothing could ruin that for me.
But things started to change…
You do not really realize how much your definition of success will change till one day you wake up not so satisfied with things that used to make you feel accomplished. I woke up at some point and realized my numbers at work, my grades, the next promotion – that was not going to keep me feeling fulfilled. It is a rude awakening when you realize the things that used to make you feel great just do not feel the same anymore. When I speak to older generations about this feeling, they describe it as “growing up.” I have begun to believe them that this is what it is.
Life was not always so easy. It was not always rainbows and butterflies every single day. I was not always going to be kept happy or satisfied with the success in the workplace I have been having. I had a realization that there has to be something more to my life. But what was going to make me feel successful? How was I going to measure success now? I felt lost.
When I hit rock bottom.
Seriously, when I got thrown down and hit rock bottom face first was when I realized, there is more to life. I measured success based off of how many amazing moments I have with my family. Being involved with multiple charitable organizations began to fulfill me. Trying new things kept me going too. It was not just about work anymore or my grades in school. Although that promotion and that ‘A’ makes me feel great, it was not all I wanted. I was looking to help people in ways that they may never be able to return that favor back to me. That was how I began to measure my success.
The more I began to volunteer my time, resources, etc. The more I began to feel like I am accomplishing something. I was so focused majority of my life on just getting good grades or being the best at my job. Although those are great and I love that feeling as well, I do not measure my success solely from it anymore.
I searched for new ways to feel fulfilled.
When I realized my definition of success changed. I began to look for new ways to make me feel fulfilled. Without that feeling of fulfillment, life can get very de-motivating. I searched for new charitable organizations I can spend time on. I volunteered at work to organize some charitable events to make me feel even more fulfilled in the workplace as well. The feeling that I am doing more in my job than just making money and growing a corporation is what I thrive off in my current position. Spending time with my family and close friends is heavily valued for me. Being able to spend as much time as possible with my grandma makes me so happy since I know that will not last forever.
Life is extremely short. Sprinkle that kindness everywhere you go. If you are fortunate enough, pay it forward and help others much less fortunate. Do something that will make someone smile or make them feel like they belong. Change someones life. You never know what that meal you give to the homeless means to them or the that smile or the warm coat. Organizing a fundraiser to raise money for a refugee family. There is more to life than just going to work everyday or studying all day. There has to be more to it. Enjoy your life and be the reason why others enjoy their days too.
What do you do that makes you feel successful?
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