How do you define success?

What does success look like to me? This is a question that I’ve been asking myself for several years, now. I’ve yet to come up with an answer. More accurately, I’m yet to believe any answer that I’ve come up with to be true.

At the heart of the problem is my inability to acknowledge the value of my achievements. If I were to look at my life objectively, I would conclude that I’ve done well. It took me a good while, and it cost my parents a few of their later years, but I’m here now.

I’ve got a secure job that pays well enough and offers benefits. My rent and bills are all paid on time. My array of hobbies keep me entertained and out of trouble. My friends are some of the best people in the world. I can read and have the time to do so. Life is good. I want for nothing.

What stops me from being “successful” is knowing — believing — that I’m capable of more. Every step forward isn’t progress along a path but a kick that clears the leaves ahead of me. It’s as if I’m walking on the lighted tiles that Michael Jackson did in the Billie Jean music video; each step shines a light on my surroundings.

When viewing the world in this way, a path in any direction leads away from success, which has a finality to it that my worldview doesn’t allow for.

I wish I felt successful, accomplished even. I won’t allow myself to equate progress with success. The former continues on, while the latter stops. If I do nothing in this life, I won’t have stopped moving and trying. Success might not be a worthy goal for me. Understanding and accepting this is my life’s work, I suppose. I’m left with nothing to define.


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