We're fed one very specific narrative of what success is: it's money, it's recognition, it's completely based in the ego's desires. This is why, of course, it is profoundly unfulfilling. We are not beings whose sole goal is just to survive and procreate for the species — we want to actualize ourselves. We want to feel love. We think, we are aware of our consciousness. This is very important when it comes to how we measure "success," and how we think about having it.
Our current idea of success is to "win." It is to be ahead of, better than, and so on. It is, by nature, isolating and separating. It does not take into account connection or well-being or love. The ideas we have about what it means to be successful often clash with what we feel we really want, and it is for this reason.
We don't really want "success" the way we think we do. Our idea of success comes from a deeper, subconscious belief that being "ahead of, better than" and so on will ultimately make us feel loved, or will inspire us to finally love ourselves. If you take a look a the landscape of "successful" people (Hollywood, business, and so on), you will find that the opposite tends to be true. They accomplish everything they think will make them happy, and then crash, crumble, and oftentimes seek out a high in new more destructive ways.
We absolutely need to redefine what it means to be successful in a way that aligns with our true desires. Right now, we're chasing a finish line that in reality, we don't actually want to cross. Yet, we're not going to alter this until we realize that we can still be ambitious and career-driven and yes, even healthfully competitive, without ascribing those things to comprising our sense of self or happiness overall. Here, eight new ways to measure what "success" means.
How Effortless You Allow Your Days To Be
You will be as happy as you let yourself relax and enjoy each day. In a state of tension, this is impossible.
How Much You Can Identify Something To Be Grateful For Each Day
This is a cultivated ability, one that's difficult to master.
How Much You've Grown As A Person
While being able to measure or even see how far you've come is hard, it's important that you try to remember who and how you used to be — it will put so many things into perspective.
How Often You Let Yourself Relax — No Matter How Long The "To Do" List Is
To let your life be effortless and relaxed and happy (see point number one), you do not have to give up your ambition or sit in a lavender rose petal bath for six hours a day. It means that you're able to relax and give your attention, joy and focus to whatever it is you have to do — you go with the flow of your life, even when the current is moving quickly.
How Often You Choose Self-Loving Thoughts
It is not a matter of when you will magically choose to have positive thoughts about yourself, but how often you consciously and deliberately choose them — that's what creates the habit.
How Often You Stand Up For Yourself And Protect Your Heart
Loving yourself is just caring for yourself like a mother or parent, almost half of the time. It's not just thinking of yourself in a flowery, idyllic way. It's caring for yourself and protecting yourself as well.
How Selfless You Are Capable Of Being
You're able to be selfless to the degree that you've already taken care of yourself — and that, of course, is the accomplishment in and of itself.
The Degree To Which You Can Make The Best Of What You Have, While You Have It
I'm not sure how long it's going to take for it to click for everybody, but big houses and tons of money and beauty and wealth and fame do not make for happy people. The happiest people in the world love in and because of their imperfect bodies, in their houses that are cozy homes where traditions and memories are made, in being grounded and aware of the beautiful simplicity of life — not swept away by the opposite. You are as successful as you can find joy no matter your circumstances. That is the only measure of success there is.
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