You might be expecting me to write something basic about patience, integrity, humility, honesty, discipline, and other qualities that might make up a successful person. If you’re looking for an article like that, you’ll find them everywhere. This article is different. It’s not meant to talk about one word or one quality of successful people in a generic sense and re-define what those things mean for you. This articles purpose is to help you re-define what your personal success is and how you define yourself.

There are elements of success people seldom mention, and sometimes those things have nothing to do with the present or the individual. Below, feel free to read about those five elements.

1. Your job isn’t your success.

You are your success, and what you’re successful in will vary. It doesn’t have to be your job. It could be your family, it could be your volunteer work, or your community service.  Success is multi-faceted.  In addition, your job may not be a direct reflection of you, your greatest strengths, or the best use of your time. Your job might not enable you to contribute to the world in a way you would like, yet so many people define themselves by their jobs, or their next big promotion. Success is a lifestyle and an attitude.

2. Failure is going to happen to you. Just because you fail at something, doesn’t mean you are a failure.

I’ve only failed one class in my life: geometry. I did my best, and I tried hard, enrolling in tutoring and after school classes to help boost my grade. Failing, I thought, would be unacceptable and earth-shattering. I thought I’d be too embarrassed to ever be able to discuss it, l and yet here I am. Do you know what I learned? I learned it wasn’t the end of the world. I learned what I wasn’t good at. I learned where I was weak and I used those insights to make myself stronger and better educated about myself.

Failure is nothing more than useful feedback. You don’t have to be the best at everything to be the best at something. Sometimes we learn from the things we do poorly or the things we fail to do moreso than the things we excel in.

3. People will always see your successes. They may never know about your sacrifices.

There will always be people who think you had it easy. There were always be people who identify with you and think you had it rough. They are both wrong, and the answer is usually somewhere in the middle and defined by the individual. The truth of the matter is, no one else is going to really know how much you had to give up or overcome to get to where you are. It’s easy to think being successful is easy when the version of you people are seeing is the person who made it through the storm.

When push comes to shove, their opinions don’t matter. What matters is what you think and feel about yourself. When you feel good about yourself and your own unique purpose in life, everything falls into place.

4. There are people who aren’t going to think you’re successful, no matter what you think of yourself or how you feel.

Ignore people like this. They are usually miserable themselves. There will always be people who like to gossip or speak poorly of someone else trying to get by and follow their dreams. People will tell you your goals are stupid, your dreams are unrealistic, and the money won’t follow. Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are wrong. The only thing that matters is that you don’t base your final choices off of them.

5. Sometimes it’s about who you know.

In some respects, certain types of success have to do more with who you know as opposed to how hard you work, hustle, or study. Many people will tell you so long as you work hard, anything is possible, and while anything being possible is true, it isn’t always probable. Sometimes people have a better time, or easier time because they have good mentors or they knew the right people or joined the right clubs or had the right connections. Sometimes success is a collaborative effort, not just something we become on our own.

Featured photo credit: The Auditorium at the Educational Center of Hallmark Institute of Photography, located at 27 Industrial Blvd, Turners Falls, Massachusetts/Tfman13 via commons.wikimedia.org

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