What is success, really? I’ve asked myself that question a lot lately. I know what the world says it is: fame, wealth, titles, acclaim, status, belongings, social media following—the list goes on. We all speak of success being something we aim for, but surely the definition has to have more substance than a vain train of accolades.
When I probed into the question, I was left desiring a firmer foundation to stand on. In a world where success has so many variants, how do we strip away the pressure to perform and achieve and instead embrace true success?
A thought that gave me permission to lay down the societal pressures of success and instead pick up the truest form of success: character.
A rhythmic thought, that dared success to look like the most unsuspecting of offerings, demanded my attention and acceptance, dismantling the falsehood that defines success solely as manmade achievement:
What if true success looked as simple as faithfulness and maturation?
And it was there, in the simplicity of that statement, that I felt my mind shift for the first time and take hold of the peace and assurance of such a thought. A thought that gave me permission to lay down the societal pressures of success and instead pick up the truest form of success: character. I realized that I didn’t need to worry about being the best, but instead needed to seek after becoming the best version of myself. It gave me a lens change-out. I went from seeing myself and my life through a lens of comparison—”not good enough,” “not talented enough,” “not smart enough”—to seeing it through the lens of my own journey, knowing that what I have pales in comparison to the beauty of who I am and am intent on becoming.
Still, I’m forced to ask myself: Would faithfulness and maturation be enough? It does not take a rocket scientist to see that these are noble and estimable definitions of success, but where do I actually stand with it? Is it enough to quantify success in this way, a way that is seemingly unseen and unimportant in the world’s eyes?
It is there that suddenly that question goes from head to heart to hands for me. I realize that I have the power to choose what my definition of success is going to be.
I alone get to choose if a life of faithfulness and growth is enough or if I instead need to reach for a secondary definition of success. That definition might make me enviable to my peers, but lacks the substance I truly want at the end of the day.
So, I choose to reach in and engage with a truth that is so alien to today’s culture, yet so equally home to me. Once I was stretching to leave my covetable mark on this world, thinking that was the only way to be successful. Now I’m leaning into my own definition, seeking and believing that a heart after faithfulness and maturation is the type of heart that does not just leave a superficial mark on the world, but legitimately shapes and molds it for the better.