Success is whatever you call it
I’ve been prompted to respond to the question, How do you define success?
Rather than being bound to narrow definition of reproductive success, humans are capable of cognition that offers us the opportunity to rethink success as imposed by parents, teachers, and perceived social mores.
Seriously, wrap your head around this thought for a moment. You define your own success. I propose that regardless of any outward impositions, expectations, or criticisms, each individual’s definition of success cannot be meddled with. Furthermore, I suggest that if a person’s actions and definition of success are in alignment, even if it’s fleeting, she’s been successful. Simply put, success centers on being at peace with your actions at any given moment. Being able to say to yourself (convincingly),
I’m here right now, this is what I’m doing, this is why, and I’m OK with all of it.
While simple in principle, I don’t think the prospect of being at peace is easy. It requires a great deal of introspection and commitment in order to figure out the whys and the whats. That can be plain challenging to muster, especially in the face of financial strain, lingering dreams, guilt, uncertainty, or other interfering agents. The takeaway here is that regardless of circumstance, you’re in charge of how you measure your victories and shortcomings - nobody else.
Without further ado, the product of 20 short years of life and most definitely subject to change, my personal vision of success involves:
- The welcoming and active pursuit of intellectual, emotional, and physical development.
- Articulation of beliefs that are the product of observation, inquiry, and evidence.
- Respect of others’ embodied experiences as a legitimate way of acquiring knowledge and establishing belief.
- Creation and contribution in a way that reflects my convictions.
- Acceptance of the likelihood that I will encounter evidence that suggests my beliefs and/or actions are misinformed, delusional, or naive.
Let me give this whole being at peace thing a shot: I didn’t shower or change out of my pajamas today. I spent the entire morning reading a book for pleasure and watching Game of Thrones. I drank 6 cups of coffee and #7 is currently brewing. I ate a terribly unhealthy lunch. I took a 2 hour nap and neglected to go grocery shopping. This blog post is finished over an hour past its deadline because I just couldn’t find the inspiration to write. I’m about to make dinner at 1:30am and guess what, I’m OK with it all!