Thoughts on Success

I work at a university and I can’t count how many conversations I’ve had with students who are completely flunking because they were forced into a certain major. Their parents are paying and therefore would like to guarantee their money went to something useful.

Likewise, I can’t tell you how many parents I talk to, reminding them they cannot choose a major or courses for their child. Again, cue the “but I’m paying” response.

I get it. I graduated in 2008. My generation is the reason we’re all talking about loan forgiveness.

Now and then I get a breath of fresh air. A person who tried to do the thing that made money or the career that made sense, but is now being brave, trying to strive toward the career that feels right.

My last year of social work school, I met a man who was an engineer for a big firm and getting his masters in math. He quit both after realizing most of his middle-aged coworkers (and all upper management) were men who were unhappy, functional alcoholics who were divorced or on bad terms with their children. Though he nearly got disowned by his parents, he looked at that experience as a nudge from the universe directing him toward the population he needed to work with.

The world is full of opinions on what success looks like. Turn on the TV and you will see exactly what’s considered successful in your country.

Don’t be fooled by the con that only certain types of lifestyles and careers can be considered successful. The absence of paparazzi is not indicative of failure.

The song writer is just as important as the singer. The chef is just as necessary as the restaurant owner. The writer is just as crucial as the director and actors of the movie.

Find the thing that feels right.

I don’t believe your career has to be the thing you love. But I do believe you must have the thing you love present in your life at all times. And it doesn’t even have to be one thing, it could be multiple things that shift and change. We do not all need to be doctors and lawyers, singers or ball players.

Success isn’t just money, cars, and clothes. Success is… Well. You fill in the blanks.

Success should be defined by the person doing the dreaming.


Success is defined by