What Does It Mean To Be "Successful" Anyway?

What is your motivation and what kind of goal is it driving you towards?

n. desire to do; interest or drive | the process that arouses, sustains and regulates human and animal behaviour
I’ve seen the phrase “where do you find your motivation?” thrown around a few places these past few weeks. The response has always been “from within yourself.” You can be inspired by others, even jealous, but when it comes to getting something done, whether it’s hoovering the whole house, or sealing the deal on that promotion you dreamed about ever since walking into the office, the real driving force has always been yourself, coming from within.
So we’ve established motivation, the forces that get you to your personal definition of “success.” But what actually is success? And what does it mean to be “successful”? Is it defined in monetary terms and the small script accompanying your name when you sign your business relations off? The majority of people would probably define it as acquiring the job they’ve always aspired to have. Settling down with a happy, financially secured family. Making your parents proud.

But what if your definition of success doesn’t quite sit with the rest of society’s? What if you’re working really hard but you have absolutely no idea what for. What if you don’t even have the motivation to find and work towards a fantastic career, but instead would prefer a much simpler life; a roof over your head, a full tummy at the end of the day, and happiness. I’ve always worked hard throughout my education, and my grades showed for it. Looking back I’m not sure whether it was out of motivation to do well in order to continue on to the next phase of education, or if it was out of pride. Pride’s a painful thing when it’s dented. At the moment I have no dream career in the clouds for me to work towards once I graduate. And the worst thing of all, I’m not actually bothered. Well, of course I’m bothered and worried that I’ll leave university and end up not being able to find a job, (any job, I’d be willing to take anything), but at the moment I feel like I’m working hard at uni, doing my best, but have no idea what for.

We return to pride. At the moment the only motivation I have is the shame of graduating with a 3 or a 2:2. I know, it’s awful of me. And a 2:2 isn’t even bad, it’s certainly not the worst thing in the world to have scrawled in a This Is Your Life book. When I was younger, I had a million and one different ideas for job roles, as we all did I’m sure. A sweet shop owner, a florist, an interior designer, a journalist, all with absolutely no concept of the investment of hard work needed in advance, that would be necessary in order to see the ideas become a reality. Now I know the reality, and it’s terrifying. Truly a dog eat dog world. (Well, perhaps being a sweet-shop owner isn’t quite on par with the struggles of journalism..)
Thankfully I still have one year left to properly ponder upon what I want to When I Leave. Whilst friends back home are finishing up dissertations and graduating in the summer, I am quietly watching them, observing their moves as they choose the next path to follow in a new chapter of their lives. I’ll see what they do, and if I fancy it, I’ll do something similar. Simple yeah?

For me, to have a life “full of success,” is to know that you made that person’s day. You helped changed someone’s perspective on life for the better. You helped nurture someone younger than you, (not necessarily your offspring!), and comforted somebody who is older. Right now, my idea of a dream job is to have a bee-keeping farm and a community garden, to help nourish those who stopped by. Yes, it is pretty unrealistic, I think the idea might have come to me in a dream, I’m not sure. It’s not the most ambitious way of passing your days, not compared to a lot of people I know who have professional careers set in motion once that cap is donned and scroll is in their hand.
For now, I am motivated to do my personal best. To push myself to limits I’ve never reached, and to simply be content in life.

What is motivating you at the moment? Have you reached a stage in your life where you can comfortably say, “I have successfully accomplished X?” 

I’d love to know if I’m not alone when it comes to university degrees and working hard, but having no real material goal to make it all seem worth while..



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