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Thinking about success

I mean, it’s pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? I am thinking about success. It feels like that should be the end of it. But it’s not. Why?

Why isn’t anything that simple? Come to think of it, over the course of the last year, very little is as simple as it feels like it should be. The pandemic, working from home, bills, boredom, fear, lack of socialization, and no physical connections make it seem like a crazy idea that anything could be simple. And yet….

Some things are simple. Success is simple. Right? You are either successful or you are not. Except that depends on who you are, how you live, how you define success, what a lack of success looks like, and probably other things I’m missing. So if I’m thinking about success, it isn’t simple after all.

How you define success? I grew up thinking it was status and money and the things it brings. I thought that to have value you had to have actual monetary value. I thought you had to have a shiny car and nice clothes and travel to exotic places on vacation. I thought you had to have money to burn. I tried that. It turns out I don’t fit into that world at all.

Actually, it turns out that I don’t define success that way at all. When it really became something I had to figure out, I realized I would never get excited about owning a pair of designer shoes, or the newest ‘it’ accessory, or the blingiest jewelry. It just wasn’t me. I define success differently. I define success in the success of my students, in the achievements which mark me as a good teacher and a moral person. I don’t want to be better than anyone else, just better than I was yesterday. Some days I achieve the goal and some days I don’t.

So if I’m going to stop and think about being successful, it is probably one of the more personal considerations I’ve ever addressed. There is no right or wrong way to be successful, it’s simply how you define it when you stop and think about what it means to you.

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