According to the English Oxford Living Dictionary, Success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status; a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc.; or the good or bad outcome of an undertaking.”

People define success in different ways. Some define it with money or property. Some define it with spiritual beliefs. I believe that each person defines success in a different way and that it’s based on how we grew up, on how we see the world and on our person values. I also believe that until we challenge all three of those “ideals”, we won’t have true success.

I grew up poor and I’ve had that mindset my whole life. I’m still fighting that mindset. When I have extra money, I want to spend it. When I have extra time, I want to goof off. I’m slowly moving to a more goal-oriented mindset, where I ask myself, “Does this purchase/activity move me closer to achieving my goals?” If I can answer with a yes, then awesome. If I answer with a no, then I self-access and see if it is something I really need. Sometimes, I need the down time to read that fan fiction story that has nothing to do with my next article. Sometimes, I need to eat that candy bar even though I’m trying to lose weight. As long as I’m not over indulging, it’s okay to read that fan fiction or eat that candy bar, every once in a while.

In the last year, my whole way of seeing the world has changed. I’ve been a pessimistic person most of my life. The cup was always half empty and getting emptier, and it was always someone else’s fault, unless it was always my fault. I know it was a contradiction. It depended on the day and how depressed I was. The more depressed I was, the more it was my fault, no matter whose fault it truly was or even if it was no one’s fault. In the last year, I have confronted my own self of self-worth and made a radical change. I don’t think that I’m an optimistic by any means. I’m closer to a realist than anything else. I, no longer put myself down and when I start to hear that little voice, I stop and listen to loud music to drown it out until I can think in a clear manner. Then I look at the situation with fresh eyes and see what is really bothering me.

My personal values have changed as well. I see money as less of a goal and more of a tool. I don’t want to be rich. I want enough money to achieve my goals. That is something else that has changed. I now have Life Goals. I asked myself these two questions, “I’m 100 years old, I’m lying on my deathbed, what have I accomplished? What would I like to have accomplished?” I’ve been passionate about my art for years, but it wasn’t going anywhere. Those questions gave be a purpose to go with my passion. I believe that you need both passion and purpose, or you won’t get anywhere.

So, my definition of success has changed. It used to be all about having a good job, making good money and buying a house. I wasn’t successful at any of those and I was consistently putting myself down about it. I was always a failure and no good.

Now, my definition of success is to be working towards my goal of creating artwork, supporting myself by selling my artwork without a “traditional” job and to have enough money to travel, first the United States and then the world. As long as I am making progress towards these goals, I am a success. If I complete these goals before I’m 100 years old, then I’ll create new goals.

What is your definition of success? Have you achieved it?

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