Follow your own passion— not your parents’, not your teachers’— yours.” — Robert Ballard
We all want to be successful, but what does that look like? At one point, maybe you had your own perception of what success meant to you. When reading about success, it seems to be portrayed with some limitations. Be an entrepreneur and a leader, be extroverted, have a lot of friends and contacts, work remotely, develop a system so that you will make a steady stream of income while only working a few hours a week, and so on. A lot of sources assume that we all work in offices, or have a nine to five schedule. What about those who don’t fit these labels? What if you are not an entrepreneur, but you like where you work? What if you don’t have a ton of friends, but are close with the ones you have? What if you don’t work in an office, does this imply people like teachers, firefighters, retail clerks, and people who don’t fit these guidelines can’t be successful?
There is nothing wrong with being successful within those guidelines if it matches your desires and interests, but don’t let them limit your dreams and passions. Money and possessions aren’t measures of success, unless you define it that way. One of the great things about success is that it is personally customized; you get to decide what success looks like for you. Maybe for you, success means being debt free. Maybe it means getting to spend a couple hours each week with a loved one, going somewhere fun, or doing something you enjoy. It could even mean taking care of yourself and getting out of depression or being less anxious.
Take a moment to think about what your version of success is, not just what you have been told success is. What do you want to accomplish? How do you want your life to be different? Or maybe you already feel content with life, how do you plan to keep it that way?
If your version of success changes, that’s okay too. Life changes and chances are you don’t have the same idea of success you had when you were five. Although, when you really think about it, maybe that’s what’s missing.
When we were younger we had a different perception of the world. We were asked what we wanted to do when we grew up and didn’t put limitations on what that could be. There weren’t people discouraging us from chasing our dreams, or intimidating obstacles to pass.
If you are stuck on what your idea of success is, think back to when you were a child. What did you want to do when you grow up? Is that still something you are interested in? I’m not saying you should try to be a ninja doctor who fights crime while saving lives, unless that’s something you really want to do, but at the very least look for some inspiration in your childhood dreams. How have your passions and interests changed with age?
Once you know what your version of success is you are halfway there because you already started to develop a focus point. If your initial idea is vague, work with it to narrow it down into an idea you can grasp. Do some research and figure out what steps you need to take in order to make that dream a reality.
We all have different versions of success because we are all different. Now keep your version of success within sight, and chase it with all you’ve got. Life’s too short for anything less than that.
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