Monday, 11 April 2016

How Do I Measure Success in My Life?

There is no definite way to measure success. What I consider a success life may not be successful to another. Furthermore what was a successful life to me when I was 10 years old is no longer a success 10 years down the line. How then can we measure success? How do we know that we are successful in life?

Many of us make a huge mistake when we want to know how successful we are by comparing our achievements to others, I strongly disagree with this concept because it is not a true measure of success. Let us compare these two examples below;

Mary and Jane cleared college together and got employed in the same company, earning the same salary. Within six months Jane has a car and Mary still commutes to work using public transport. Who among the two would you consider successful?

I know you would consider Jane to be more successful than Mary because she has managed to buy a car within six months of employment. Within face value yes, but we are forgetting some important factors here, their background. Jane comes from a well off family, she stays at her family house, she does not pay rent or any bills in the house. She has all her income to herself. Mary on the other hand stays away from home, pays her rent, water bills, electricity bills, she buys her food, has managed to support her two siblings through college and aided her parents to buy that home they have always wanted to have for the past 20 years. She cannot afford a car at this time but has she accomplished some of her goals? Can we consider her more successful than Jane now that we know their background. Great, now you understand what I mean, you can not measure  your success against other people's achievements, you can only measure success against your potential. What you are capable of against what you have achieved.

Factors to consider when measuring your success:

Age is an important factor when you want to measure your success because we have different goals at every stage in life. When in college, you would consider passing your exams successful, after college you would consider having a well paying job successful, 10 years down the line you would consider having your own house and a car successful or running your own business. When you start measuring your success, you should first and foremost establish the stage you are in life and what you consider to be important at that age and time.

What do you want to achieve in life? The goals you have set for yourself are paramount when you want to measure your own success. I remember when I was in college, I did not only want to pass my exams, I wanted to pass my exams with honors, some of my friends were content with passing, the honorary title was not part of their success. If I had passed my exams without honors, I would not consider myself a failure, but I would not consider myself successful either.
Some people would consider having a roof over their head and being able to provide for their family a success, others will want more that that. They would not only want a roof over their head, they would want that roof to be their own house, a house with no rent to pay at the end of the month. Having a house of your own is an achievement, for another person having a house is not enough, it has to be of a certain design and size, be in a certain location preferably near the beach, at the end of the day, you will only be able to measure your success against the goals you have set for yourself. Consider yourself successful if you are able to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself within the time specified.

The ability to have a positive impact in society is a good way to measure your success. You do not have to be a prominent person or hold a powerful position to make an impact in society. Helping a colleague at work or in college is making a positive impact, you may not see it that way but you do leave a lasting  mark in every person you interact with. Take advantage and make it count , let that mark be a positive one. There are many ways in which you can leave a positive mark, at the church choir, helping your parents with household chores or paying bills, assisting someone with homework, volunteering within the community, contributing to positive changes at work or helping that old couple around the corner. Positive marks have a way of outliving us and they give us a sense of fulfillment, go out there and live your positive mark.

If you are living in a comfort zone or have that feeling that you can do more, then you are limiting your own success. Our ability to do a task is not the same for everyone, our potential is different. The fact that you have achieved more than those around you does not make your successful, the question is, is this the best you can do? If the answer is yes, consider yourself a successful person, if not, you need do something about it. Let us take this scenario. John is a bright student who has moved to a new town and registered in a new school. He used to get more than 80 points in his previous school, the children there were very competitive and he never used top in his class but that was the best he could manage. In his new school, he is always a the top of his class, but his points have gone down below 70. Would you consider John successful against his potential despite the fact that he tops in class? Of course not, you know he can do better, being top in class is a comfort zone but not successful. It is the same situation for all of us. You need to evaluate your life to establish if you are successful or in a comfort zone.

If you are the kind of person who never gives up when faced with challenges, consider yourself a successful person. I know of this boy back in primary, his parents could not afford to pay his school fees, the boy never dropped out of school like the rest who faced the same predicament. He started rearing chicken which he would sell, he also helped with gardening during his free time at a small fee, he managed to pay his fee this way through primary and secondary school. I would consider this gentleman a successful man. He now owns a wholesale store supplying shops within the village with merchandise. He is not the president or a prime minister, but he has a way of overcoming challenges. The ability to overcome challenges is a good way to measure success in your life.

It is evident that what i consider as success is not the same as the other person. The best way to measure success is to do it as an individual. First you have to define what success means to you to be able to measure it. Refer to my previous article on How to define success in your life.

I will take this opportunity as usual to welcome you to share, comment and give feedback on how you measure success.

**** Best Words of Advice****

" We can not measure  our success against other people's achievements, we can only measure success against our potential." - Evaline Nyambati

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