Last updated on December 28th, 2022 at 10:34 am
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When I was younger, I used to think the true meaning of success meant retiring early, collecting property around the world like monopoly while having a doting husband with kids and a dog.
These are many people’s life goals (and still are) but as I matured and met more people, I realized that this isn’t the standard perfect life.
A life lesson I learned is that not everyone will agree on the definition of a successful life.
Some people’s goal is to travel the world full-time. Someone else’s definition of a successful life might be having a husband and two kids and living a quiet life in the suburbs.
This shows that one person’s ideal life isn’t the same as another.
Society’s Definition of Success
We are often pressured to do certain things by a certain age.
For us females, there is a huge pressure we put on ourselves to achieve real adult life by the time we are 30.
30 is a defining age.
In our 20s, we have the excuse of being young but once your age has a 3 in front of it, everything starts to sink in.
We worry about our careers, relationships, and finances on a whole other level.
For example, those who want kids might feel pressured to find the right guy because their biological clock is ticking. By the time we are 30, there will be many same-age peers who have settled down already.
Alright, so you haven’t found someone you want to commit to for life yet but you reassure yourself that there’s still time.
But then people around you start to ask you about your love life and remind you that you’re getting older as if you don’t know that already.
By 30, we are supposed to have a high-paying job (or retire early), a happy marriage (maybe even with kids), and a nice house. Society paints the picture that your life will be filled with love, laughter, and happiness.
That’s society’s true definition of success. Apparently, you need to hit all of the above to be truly happy.
If you’re not there yet, you’re not working hard enough to reach those goals. There’s a time limit and you clearly failed. Gotta hurry up to be on the same page as everyone else.
When you hear this often enough, you soon believe it yourself too.
At the back of your head, even when you feel like you’re happy at the current stage in your life, there’s a tiny voice saying that you’re not where you can be.
You haven’t lived up to your potential yet (sometimes, I loathe the word ‘potential’ because that’s just so much more pressure and expectations placed upon you).
Your True Meaning Of Success
When I was younger, I too was convinced that I had to have all that shebang.
I was quite lost in life for the longest time because I haven’t ticked those boxes yet. Time is also running out.
Now, I keep reminding myself that I create my own meaning to the word, ‘success.’
That’s the true meaning of success, not what we’ve been convinced to think for as long as we’ve known.
Ask yourself what you want to happen in your life to consider it a successful one. Spend time deeply reflecting and journaling to figure it out if you haven’t yet.
Someone’s goal might be to get married and have kids.
Or stay single if that’s what you prefer.
It’s your choice.
Society defines what a successful life is for everyone because not all individuals want the same thing.
Some people hate kids or the idea of marriage. Some people can’t imagine being forever single.
You can’t put billions of people in the same few boxes.
Even if it’s something that you think most people would agree on.
For example, the thought of retiring early is extremely appealing to me but when I spoke to my aunt, she was so against that. She likes to work, feel productive, and earn her own money. If she retired now, there would be too much time on her hands and she wouldn’t know what to do.
When you don’t clearly know what you want, you are being swept away with everyone else because you’re not sure.
That’s why it’s so important to create your true meaning of success.
Don’t worry too much about the age limit either (I’m saying this as a general statement. Some things like carrying your own child do have a time limit despite the technological advancement nowadays).
If you’re so worried about accomplishing certain goals by a certain age, there can be fatal mistakes and huge regrets in the future.
For example, you might be dating someone for one year when you are 30 years old. All of your friends are either engaged or married already at that point and asking you when you are settling down.
You get this question all the time and decide that oh man, I’m not getting any younger. 30 is a good age to settle down so you talk it out with your partner. You then both decide to take the next step although deep down, you’re not sure if that’s the person you want to commit to for life.
What’s the end result?
(Yes, there’s a chance that you guys can make it work but it’s more likely that you will divorce.)
Do not place these time limits that you have to accomplish something at a certain age.
People might judge you behind your back and talk about you but how long will they be talking about you before going back to talking about themselves and living their life?
They’ll probably talk about you for a few minutes maximum before moving to a different topic so for those who care a lot about what others think, remember that.
People genuinely do not think about you as much as you think. They think about themselves the most.
We All Have Different Starting Points
Even when you figured out the true meaning of success of yourself, that’s only the first step. It can take years or even decades to achieve your heart’s desire.
There are only so many ways to define the word ‘success’ so someone else probably has the same definition as you.
If you see them achieve a successful life faster than you, remember that we are all at different starting points.
For example, someone born into a privileged family has more resources than someone from a middle-class family. That person has money and connections. It gives them a huge head start as opposed to someone who lacks both of those things.
We are not all at the same start line so we’re not going to be all at the end line together.
When you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else, remind yourself that life isn’t some kind of game you need to win.
We all have different paths.
Just because someone else’s moment came sooner doesn’t mean your time won’t come.
Being On Social Media
Social media has its fair share of benefits. It can even be an inspiration to what you want to happen in the future but don’t rely on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to find the true meaning of success.
Even though you figured out what the true meaning of success is for you doesn’t mean others have that figured out. They might still be chasing that dream society is drilling down our throats.
When everyone on your feed is seemingly chasing after the same thing, you’ll feel out of place. It might even make you feel bad about yourself.
Social media is a place for people to share their highlights but when all you see are people’s accomplishments when you’re working tirelessly behind the scenes with nothing to show yet, this will affect you negatively.
Also, why is there a need to constantly see what everyone is up to? It’s hard enough to reach all the goals you want. There are so many other distractions calling your name. Don’t add more to that list.
Final Thoughts – True Meaning of Success
Once you defined your true meaning of success, do your best to ignore all else. There will be some days when it’s extremely hard to tune all of that out but you must.
We all have different ways of chasing our way to being successful so don’t fall into the trap of society’s standard of success.
Define success on your terms and do what makes you happy because of YOLO!
Now to You – True Meaning of Success
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