Free Thoughts

Reframing Success

Success. What a subjective term that is, right? Everyone has their own idea of success; it would be impossible for me to tell you what being successful is. Yet, all the while growing up, it seems we’re ingrained with the idea of success being synonymous with wealth. But, there we are again—how do you define wealth?

Both terms are very dynamic. The more I seem to experience in my life—both ups and downs—the more my definitions of wealth and success change. As time passes, and I grow more sure of who I am, I feel confident in saying I am already successful. I have been able to meet goals I have set out to achieve; I have found passions that have begun to bring me some income (keyword “some”); and I have been blessed with a woman who is everything I could have asked for and more. To me—that’s success. Yet to most people, judging from their scale of wealth—material, that is—I’m just a broke guy with a girlfriend.

The great Albert Einstein is quoted for saying, “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” In our individualistic society, we are often so set on becoming successful—in the chase for money—that we forget to aim to provide value to our world. And in order to provide value, you more than likely have to enjoy what you’re doing! One of my greatest experiences up to this point is having the pleasure of being an Academic Tutor for the University of Rhode Island’s Talent Development Program. I am able to act as both a teacher and a mentor—providing value to my students. During my time with the students—who have either just graduated high school or attended some time at a junior college—one of my most prominent themes is to reframe the idea of success to make it more realistic and achievable for everyone. They’re just entering the “real world” and it is crucial to reinforce the fact that money isn’t the end-all answer to happiness and that success is a scalable goal, based on the individual and how he or she defines it.

I know I’ve personally felt discouraged before, because I was out trying to achieve what another person had deemed success, even though, inside, I felt accomplished. It’s important to strive to become of value—and once you’re valued, success come’s hand-in-hand. There are enough people out there chasing dollar signs everyday—which is great, do your thing!—but keep in mind it’s what you can deliver in value that really makes the difference, and ultimately makes your life a genuine success.


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