Success means different things to different people but most people gauge their success based on how much money they have or how happy they are with the money they have. The old saying is, “Money doesn’t buy happiness” but that’s no consolation when you’re broke. Yet, just look around and you’ll see plenty of people broker than you living perfectly happy lives. So how do you define success?
While I’ve never been filthy rich and I’ve always had to watch my budget, I have gone from having a good, steady income to having to move in with relatives just to have a roof over my head. When was I most happy? I sounds sappy, by I was happiest when I was broke. But it didn’t start out that way.
In the beginning I was miserable. I’d lost my job, I didn’t have any money, I was living with relatives. Who could be happy under those circumstances. But then it occurred to me that I’d never really been happy while I was working either. I had a miserable boss, I worked 60 to 80 hours a week, and if you broke it down by the hour I was barely making minimum wage.
When I finally pulled myself up out of the pity pool and looked around, I realized I now had the opportunity to rebuild my life on my terms. I was no longer a slave to a tyrannical boss and a time clock. I could finally start that online business I’d been thinking about.
At that point, I didn’t consider myself successful, but I was happy. I had an opportunity of a lifetime and a goal to make it work. It was a challenge, and I think most people are happiest when they’re working toward something, when they’re moving forward, regardless of where they started from or where they hope to end up.
The mistake most people make is thinking that they’re not successful simply because they haven’t achieved that goal. But not reaching your goal doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It simply means you haven’t made it to the end of your path yet. And if you’re like most human beings, your goals are constantly changing anyway. You get a little closer, you see how easy it is, so you set yourself an even bigger challenge just to see if you can do it.
Don’t measure your success by the distance between you and your goal. Instead, look at the difference between you and your starting point. Are you happier now than you were when you started? Do you feel like you’ve accomplished something, even if you haven’t reached your goal yet? If you’re happy, and you’re moving forward, then you’ll eventually reach your goal, you might just need to take a different path.
Remember, each step that brings you closer to your goal counts as a small success. Put enough of those successful little steps together and you’ll eventually achieve your goals.