My Understanding of Success

Success is such a loaded word and concept. In all points in our lives, the yearning to be successful crossed your mind, and for many of you, probably more times that you could count in a day. Yeah, that’s a right. A day! There is a huge pressure riding on you because that is what everyone expects from you: society, family, peers, significant other, yourself, and who knows who else!

I work with students and some of these students have shared their visions of their future in hoping to accomplish something bigger than they can imagine. Some shared that they want to a stable job that will keep the money flowing. Some say that once they start paying their dues back to the people that have helped them is what they want to focus on. There are countless ideas of how others want for their future, and most of these have to deal with success. And who doesn’t want to be successful? It’s satisfying to feel that you have done something that others admire you for. Bragging rights? Sure. I’ve met people who do it.

However, the essence of success does not come with an instructional guide, nor is it a cookie cutter process for everyone. We all have to journey in our own way to find what success truly means in our lives. I must admit that I have compared how my success should look like from others, one in particular, and that is my sister. Being only the two of us and also the younger, the comparing and one-upping was a very serious matter – at least to me it was. I saw that the treatment I got from my parents, family members, and people we knew was very different from how they treated my sister. The doting was present from my grandparents, the grades expectations were clear, the looks and figures were highlighted, the gifts were one-sided, the privileges were somewhat unfair, the response to chosen careers were not equal . . . I can list many things.

I only came to the realization very recently that comparing my life accomplishments to my sister is something that will never be changed. The reason being is one simple thing: I am not her. We have so many differences and it’s one of the reasons why our lives should not be the same. I’ve always thought that I have accepted out differences long before my high school years, but it did not hit me full on until starting my masters program that I’m not meant to live a life like hers. I’m supposed to live mine. I’m not supposed to be treated the way that she is being treated because others see me differently and my passions are different from hers. The load off my chest from that acceptance was like a submarine finally emerging from the cloud of murky waters, and the years I’ve spent in grad school were some of the best years of my life because of this concept.

Now, success is still something I’m trying to pursue, and if I’m honest, I still compare myself to my sister every once in a while. Sure it gets me down, but not for too long. My understanding of success is our own making because no one else is going to truly benefit from the fruits of your own labor but yourself. I also think that success is the journey you were or are willing to take to get from before to wherever, because every day you are making an effort to change and improve your life by taking the chance to move forward. The results of those steps will come eventually, and still, we continue to push through to your next adventure, your next goal, your next mile. So enjoy your journey of success. You’re already a lot farther than where you were yesterday.

Thanks for stopping by, friend! I’ll see you soon!

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