Before we can pursue success, we need to understand what success isn’t. Lots of people hold a very narrow definition of success. They think it’s about building wealth, having the perfect relationship, launching a billion-dollar business or amassing a large social media following. And a lot of times, they attach famous people to their image of success.
None of these things or people is wrong, but being like them doesn’t necessarily make you successful. Many people have fought and struggled to the top only to feel miserable and burned out once they get there. They’re unhappy because they pursued the wrong definition of success—one that didn’t match their values.
Throughout childhood and early adulthood, we learn various ideas of success from our parents, teachers and friends. Everyone has their own agenda and idea of who and what we should be. Although it’s OK to value the opinions and hopes of others, we shouldn’t necessarily adopt them as our own. No one can impose their version of success on us. No one can tell us what it means to live the good life.
It’s easy to assume that success means obtaining a specific object, such as a job or social status, and to believe that if we get that thing, we’ll be successful. But some of the greatest successes resulted from the worst failures. Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”