What is Success?

Last weekend Tim and I celebrated his grandpa’s 90th birthday. As I said yesterday, we had a great time relaxing and hanging out.  While wishing him a happy birthday and listening to several of his life adventures, I couldn’t help but wonder…how does one achieve success like his grandpa has in 90 years?

I’m currently 24 years old.  I can’t help but wonder what I have even accomplished. Do I even consider myself successful? I went into college with a clear cut path of what I wanted to do.  I wanted to be a math teacher and excel at swim team.  Yet I find myself completely happy at where I am today doing nothing that I had set out to do.

I found myself asking several questions.

What have I accomplished in my life? Am I happy with my life?  What is success anyways?  Is success making a lot of money?  Is success being rich and famous?  Having the top job?  Running the fastest? Is success using your college major to get a dream job?  Is there even one definition of success?

My definition of success is being happy.   Being happy and being able to survive physically, mentally and financially.  If you are enjoying life and it’s precious moments along the way…you are successful. Not every moment in life will be enjoyable but not every moment in life should be miserable either.

I can truly say that I have found that success with my life so far.  While I’m only 24 years old, I’ve found that you cannot pinpoint success.  Success is a collection of things happening in your life.

It’s being happy with yourself.

It’s connecting and cherishing your bond with family and friends.

It’s enjoying small moments and not taking them for granted.

It’s not worrying over small things and realizing will it all matter next year?  Will I care in a month?  (Will a minor injury be forever…)

It’s truly enjoying your job.

It’s not obsessing about one factor in your life.

It’s living life to the fullest.

Each person’s definition will always be different. 



Ninety years is 32,850 days and there is no need to stress over one, two or 100 or even 1000 of them.

Question for you: What is your definition of success?


25 responses

  1. I think success is being content, and feeling like you are giving your best effort for whatever it is you’re working toward. It’s being honest with yourself and addressing problems directly instead of denying and avoiding them. Sounds like you’re right on track and at 24 mature in my opinion!

  2. I definitely think success has many definitions, and means different things to different people. But at the end of the day, it’s about being happy with where you are in life and what you’ve done regardless of whether or not those accomplishments would be defined as success by someone else. I really love that picture of you and Tim. You look so happy!

  3. I think its finding what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. It involves positive relationships and enjoying the little things. And being able to do something that you enjoy. You are so right that there is no need to stress over a few days when we have so many, but we also shouldn’t take any for granted!

  4. I absolutely love that picture of you and Tim – you two are perfect together.

    The “definition” of success is something I struggled with the first part of this year – at first I thought getting that great job out of college and making a lot of money was success. Turns out it just made me miserable. I think if on a daily basis you are doing what you love, surrounded by the people you love, you are successful.

  5. My definition of success is definitely along the same lines as yours. Happiness. Contentment. Reaching your goals, whatever they may be. And I really love what you said about not stressing over the occasional bad days since they’re only a small fraction of our entire lifetime 🙂

  6. That is my favorite picture of you and Tim – I simply love it!

    And I agree with you 100% – sometimes I think I get caught up in the little things, and stress about a tiny injury or a deadline but in the long run, these things are so small! As long as I’m moving towards my dreams, I am happy.

  7. I think just feeling content is success! I don’t have much of a definition for it! I LOVE that picture of you and Tim.

  8. It is everything you said with one addition:

    It’s starting to save for retirement when you’re in your 20’s.

  9. I had dinner with my current roomies and their families not too long ago, and her dad went around the table and asked each of us “kids” during the meal what we had accomplished that day. My response was that I had kept two kids safe and alive and both had smiles on their faces at the end of the day when their mom came home. He nodded and said ok, and what do you hope to accomplish tomorrow? I said the same thing. He gave me a “really?” look before moving on to my friend, and it made me stop and think. What am I accomplishing right now? Anything? And if so, is it enough? And what I’ve come to decide is that yes, it is. I keep two little monkeys alive on a regular basis and usually end the day with smiles all around. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but it’s also been the most rewarding. I know it isn’t in the cards for me forever or for too much longer, but the difference I’ve made here is huge, and that makes me successful. The last few years have done the same. Have they gone as I expected? Not at all. But I’m happy for the most part, and I have a feeling I’m a lot happier where I am than I would be doing something “‘more successful” by society’s standards

  10. I love this! I do believe happiness is the ultimate definition of success but I also struggle with comparing myself to others and defining my success on that! I am happy and shouldn’t compare my job title, pay, running pace and PRs, etc to others especially when I have different priorities and motivations which affect those things. At the end of the day happiness is king!

  11. Being content and financial stable makes me feel successful. Loving my job, knowing when to say no, surrounding myself with people I love, and exercise make me feel successful!

  12. I love that picture and I love this post! I did the one about following your passion, and have talked so much about happiness and how much that matters compared to the ‘traditional’ metrics of ‘success’ … great post!

  13. I reckon success is different to each and every individual and what you may consider constant, I may consider success….or let’s use running as an example- If I can run a 5k without stopping, I’d say that’s success but for you, that’s standard- and that’s perfectly fine 🙂

    At the end of the day, like you said, happiness is fundamental.

  14. I agree with the idea that happiness = success. At my school there’s this culture of competitiveness and not letting people see your weaknesses. There was a huge mental health care issue earlier this year when a few students committed suicide and flaws in our counseling and psychological services department were revealed, and it really opened people’s eyes to the struggles that a lot of people who seem amazingly successful on the outside deal with on the inside. While I haven’t been as “successful” as I’d have liked at college in terms of GPAs and internships and whatnot yet, I’ve made a lot of close friends and can truly say I love my life, and that’s a pretty good definition of success to me.

  15. I totally agree with your definition! I think that’s the whole point! It’s crazy how we can get distracted with other measures of how other people define success, but I think happiness is probably the best form of measurement 🙂

  16. Love, love, love that picture! For me, I think success is getting to the end of my life and having no regrets– knowing that I gave back in a meaningful way, valued my family and friends, acted out of love as often as I could… great question to ponder!

  17. Yes yes yes to everything you said.
    I would also include accepting and thriving off of the fact that happiness and being present is always a work in progress. It’s ok and exciting to always be working towards something!

  18. To me, being successful is being happy–which can mean a lot of different things even depending on the day. Right now, it means having a loving support system, excelling at my job–and triathlon of course!–and maintaining my health.

  19. Yes to everything u said! I think it’s a strange thing to think of ‘being successful’ If we class ourselves as successful do we stop aspiring and working towards a goal? Success, to me, is just about being generally contented with life

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