What is Success?

Failure? I never encountered it. All I ever met were temporary setbacks.
— Dottie Walters

Four years ago, I wrote this post on my original blog, when I hadn’t even written a book yet. Today, I’ve decided to republish it and I’ll hope you’ll take the time to read and answer the question at the bottom!

So, without further ado, here goes!

First, what is the meaning of failure?

Quite simply, it means lack of success.

The problem with this is…what is success?

Generally, this is the accomplishment of one’s goals and/or the attainment of wealth, position, honors or the like.

Here’s the thing:

Each and every one of us defines success differently.

For a writer, it could be finally finishing the first draft of a novel after many, many years of saying you will. I’ve written over 10 books, I consider that a personal success, even if I’m not a widely known author.

For a student, it might involve getting that high school diploma or college degree. Or maybe even a second degree. I finally got my Associate degree after seven attempts at college; that is something I consider success.

For a parent, the ability to stay at home instead of working. Or vice versa. Or both. I get to stay home with my son and work, either with writing or other jobs I’ve found, even if they aren’t permanent.

It can be anything.

I’ve experienced society’s expectations, society’s definition of ‘success’ and it can hurt.

If you aren’t smart enough to finish college, you may love retail or fast food work, only to have your job choice mocked. You may hear about how you are useless, a waste, a drain on society because you need help in addition to your job because of low wages. You might even hear someone refer to you as stupid because you’re an adult who ‘flips burgers’ and it’s a shame – even though you and those like you who work those job allow the people putting you down to use those services in the first place.

Maybe you did finish college. But now you can’t find a job in your field and you need help until you can find a job.

Maybe you grew up with abuse and due to the costs of things, cannot get the therapy you need to heal so you stumble through life, making mistake after mistake, digging yourself deeper and deeper into a hole while people stand by and shake their heads.

They are wrong.

Society is wrong.

There is nothing wrong with being different. There is nothing wrong with not being or feeling smart enough to go to and complete college.

There is nothing wrong with being happy with a non-degree job.

You are not a waste. You are not a failure.

There is no one thing that defines you as or makes you a failure.

If you have a goal, you are not a failure, even if you keep falling down on the way to it.

I won’t say you can do anything, be anything because the truth is, we all have limitations. I will say, however, that if you want it bad enough and it’s a realistic & achievable goal, you should absolutely go for it. Screw the naysayers.

I don’t believe in failure.

Why not?

Well, I know that even if you don’t necessarily get where you want to go, you will still get somewhere that is a different destination from where you began. You will still be changed. You will have experienced new things and learned new lessons.

Temporary setbacks? Absolutely.

You will get smacked down repeatedly and what matters most is that you get back up.

Every. Single. Time.

So don’t think of your current defeat as a failure. Think of it as a temporary setback. One that you learn, grow and move on from. Then take what you learn and apply it to make things better this time around.

Because until you’re no longer living, there will always be a new opportunity to succeed.

Whatever that means to you.

Tell me, what is one thing you want or need more than anything else in your life that would bring you a personal definition of success? If you achieved this, what would you do next, if anything?

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