As we take steps on our individual paths through this journey called life, we find ourselves challenged by expectations and rules set out by society to reflect success. But, success is in fact a relative thing, and is dependant on what each individual values. There are so many steps that can be taken to address this issue, but I thought I would focus on this one first, to give me a premise on which I can build my foundation towards reaching my own definition of success.

“Be the best you can be. Then, become better.”

Most people define success through academic degrees/diplomas, high-paying jobs, etc. But, is that truly what defines success? Things like degrees, money, and status are not reflective of success, as they are fleeting and can be deemed worthless, even by something as small as the statement of one person. But, knowledge, generosity, and honour are aspects of a person’s attributes that must be earned with sincerity to truly be of value. Attributes like these are reflective of success.

So, what does it mean to gain success?

Honestly, first and foremost, as you try to answer this question, throw away any expectations or rules that may been placed on you by society and evaluate what it is that truly makes you happy, and balance that with a knowledge and application of your beliefs and values.

Expectations are restrictive, and take focus away from helping you achieve your own happiness and success. When living to fulfill expectations, we’re living to please others instead of ourselves. Try to look at your responsibilities, and look for the root of what it is you provide to that situation. Then, seek out a way to continue to provide the same thing but in a way that makes you happy. Sure, there may be times when you’ll have to do things you don’t like, but it’s important to do your best to make that “necessary and unwanted work” minimal compared to the work that you enjoy.

Become the best.

Who do you want to be? What impact do you want to leave on the world? When it comes down to it, it’s on us to be willing to do whatever it takes to become the best. But, what the best is depends on each person, as there may be something that you’re phenomenally talented and skilled at and others are horrible at, and other things that you’re horrible at that others are phenomenally talented and skilled at. It’s about defining who you are to the best of your abilities.

Each person is unique in what they are going to be good at it and in what they enjoy. And for that reason, it’s important to find what it is you enjoy and to work excruciatingly hard at making your potential realized.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

This can only be achieved through going above and beyond to break free from the shackles of societal expectations, and doing whatever it takes to reach your goals. This is a task that’s much easier said than done, but it’s truly the only way to achieve true success. You want to stand out in the crowd as the person who did and achieved far more than most do given the same resources as you were given. So, when you’re taking a class, for example, be the best by reading more than just the textbooks, talk to people that may be familiar with what you’re studying, ask questions, and more. Doing this will put you above the rest of your class, the majority of which will be doing only what’s necessary to pass the class. Don’t settle for just getting by. Accept no less than the best of the best for yourself.

Then, become better.

Perfection is not a part of humanity’s resume. Progression, however, can be. It’s all dependant on how bad you want it.

Once you have achieved your goal of being the best at something, reevaluate yourself and try to find new goals to set in order to make yourself better. The truth is, we all have flaws. What matters is that we accept that fact and start working on becoming better, fixing one flaw at a time. And sometimes, as you work at this, you’ll find yourself understanding yourself and who you are as a person, which in effect makes you an even better person because you’re aware of who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Strive towards becoming the best you can be, while maintaining contentment with your current condition, but not being satisfied with any less than your best self. Take this approach with optimism and ambition, and I’m certain you’ll find your success and happiness.

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