I was listening to a great podcast the other day by Mark Manson: How Do You Measure Your Life.
One of the main points of the podcast was by what metric would you measure your success or how successful you are.
Would you define success in your career by how rich you became? If you’re in a relationship, would you define it by how beautiful or well-established your partner is. If you’re running a website or blog, is it defined by how much traffic your blog is getting.
These are all valid metrics and honestly, most already do follow them. They’re pretty much all easily displayable status symbols and get you immediate recognition.
But could you guess something that metrics like these have in common? Nope, it’s not just that they’re materialistic.
They’re all external factors. They don’t take into account how it makes you feel or if it makes you happy. Whether you actually enjoy it just for you and not caring about what others think doesn’t matter. The more you “get”, the more “successful” you become. And what happens if you lose any of the external factors. All your “successes”, gone.
That’s why we should try to define success by internal happiness goals.
Bring out your notebook and draw two columns. In the first column, write all your goals that you want to reach. When you get promoted, when you’re in a happy relationship, becoming famous, having a popular website, anything counts.
Now in column 2, write happiness hypotheticals or happiness scenarios that you want to reach against the rows in your first column.
For example, against the getting promoted entry, your happiness hypothetical could be working hard and impressing your boss that way instead of influencing your way up there through immoral shortcuts. Because once you get it, you would feel like you actually earned something through your own efforts.
For being in a happy relationship, instead of focusing on finding an awesome partner, aim to learn to love yourself and improving your emotional health. Relationships will follow.
If you want your website to get a lot of traffic and become popular, instead of trying to pander to the lowest common denominator by making low effort posts, focus on keeping your level of quality high up there and you won’t be self-deprecating yourself. Fame will follow.
The same way, write happiness hypotheticals for each of your goals and that should be the true metric how you define your dreams.
In that way, even if all external factors go out, it won’t matter because you’ve already reached your internal goals. Your success can never go away and it becomes a part of who you are.
You’ll always be successful in your own terms and no one can take that from you.
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