Success is defined as “an accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” That sounds pretty clear cut, but also quite narrow to me. If that was all that was considered a success in life, I would have a lot more failures to check off on my list of goals than I do now.
To me, success is doing the best that I can in the moment. Whether I technically succeed or fail in the task is not my measure. If I do succeed in the task, great! If I don’t, I first ask, did I do my best to prepare and carry out the task? If I can answer yes to this, even if I technically failed at it, I consider myself to have succeeded. Carry that one step further, if I can learn from that “failure,” I’ve made the most of the learning moment this opportunity has provided and have paved my way for future successes!
Life can throw some real whoppers our way. Whether an incredibly challenging class, a lot of challenges at once, or an overwhelming dilemma, life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. Having a strict, black and white definition of success really doesn’t do us any good. In fact, it can do us some harm. If we are constantly using the classical definition as our yardstick to measure success, it can really chip away at our self-esteem. Who needs that?
Now I’m not someone that is all for giving everyone a medal. I think that’s a whole different discussion based on measuring success extrinsically. What I’m talking about is measuring success intrinsically. In other words, with each task completed, I look inward and asking myself if I’ve done my best. If the answer is yes, even though the actual end result is a #fail, then to me I’ve succeeded. All the world can ask of us and us of ourselves is whether we have done our best. If we can step back, objectively analyze the situation and say we’ve done our best in the moment, we’ve succeeded in my book.
Let me make one more clarification, I’m also not talking about our “perfect” performance, but rather our best in the moment. For example, there are times when we may have known all the answers to a test. In the moment however, we may not get them all correct. Perhaps our nerves got the best of us, the question was a bit skewed, etc… Whatever the case, as long as how we performed in the moment is the best we could have done given our full effort toward preparation, then I feel we’ve succeeded.
Where my growth and learnings come is here:
“I have not failed: I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” (Thomas A. Edison).
I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail then to attempt to do nothing and succeed.” (Robert H. Schuller).
In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time (Anthony J. D’Angelo).
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts (Winston Churchill).
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up (Thomas A. Edison).
And… finally, one area where you will always succeed is in checking out these great deals!
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