So, What Is Success Anyway?

So, What Is Success Anyway?

Most of us measure our success by having things to do; wake up, go to work, hit the gym, sleep, repeat. This routine sets up a mindset of being fulfilled, of completing the day’s work at hand and doing it all over again tomorrow.

For most people, it doesn’t matter whether they are stuck in a cubicle all day with an unbearable boss and a pile of paper work they aren’t remotely interested in. As long as it’s something to do, they keep pushing through. For others, they quit their ‘9 to 5’ and pursue their passions in less conventional ways; they live off project to project, freelancing their way through a highly competitive world, sometimes working free jobs just so that they do what they truly love.

So, who is more successful? Is it the miserable corporate climber coddled in a suit, or the starving artist who is trying to break into the scene?

I honestly have no idea, but I have been a little bit of both.

A few lifetimes ago (or so it seems), I was working a mundane job at a large company as a Corporate Communications Officer. The title was grand but the glamor soon faded as my responsibilities became more of a routine. Fifteen months into it, even getting out of bed to face my horrible boss and squeeze into my tiny cubicle became a chore.

In a sudden twist of fate, I was offered my dream job in the TV industry. It was my true calling, and one week into it, I knew this was where I truly belonged. The hours were long and vicious and the never ending demands of my job title exhausted me physically and emotionally, but I loved every second of it. Here I was, channeling my creativity and deepest passions into producing unique projects. Soon enough, I proved to be an asset to the company and I knew just how much of a difference I was making to the channel’s brand.

But all good things come to an end, don’t they?

Under a series of circumstances that spiraled out of everyone’s control, the company was shut down and we were all left with a big blow to the face. It felt like the ultimate heartbreak, like waking up to an empty house one morning with all of my beloved’s belongings gone. But we remained optimistic that it was just a transitional period and that we will be back bigger and stronger.

The first few months of unemployment were easy. I immediately seized the opportunity to travel to places I’ve never been before, face my fears and improve myself from the inside out. I became addicted to working out, cooking my own meals and practicing mindfulness. People around me envied all the free time on my hands and I kept indulging.

Three months later, panic began to set in. I felt like I had lost a limb and completely lost balance. I stumbled through the next few months feeling worse about myself as the days passed by. I started to realize that the situation was getting worse and that the channel will never resurrect, so I took up some freelancing jobs and gained some experience working with different types of people here and there.

The panic began to subside, but was replaced with a sense of shame and disappointment. I was surrounded by people who worked five days a week with goals they had to fulfill, and here I was, aimless and lost. My days were long and bland, and my nights were sleepless. I forgot what a good night’s sleep felt like; I would toss and turn, conjuring up lavish plans to turn my life around. I would wake up a few hours later and set my thoughts into action, typing away at my computer and researching job vacancies all over the world.

I was doing a little bit of everything; applying for jobs, freelancing, writing, planning my own projects, taking up new classes and furthering my mental and physical strength. My mind was scattered but I still felt inadequate.

In fact, I felt like a total loser. I was overwhelmed with disappointment and fear, and worst of all, I was anxious that my family and loves ones would feel the same way about me too. I was worried I would be left behind, unfulfilled and empty.

I know the key is to keep persevering, to keep doing what I do best, to try harder and reach higher. I have tried to make the most out of my circumstances and I understand that I need to endure in order to prosper.

Sure, I still have a lot of free time to write stories I feel strongly about and to work on projects that have high potential, but does that make me successful? Or is success measured by doing things that make a difference? And does it matter whether it’s the kind of difference that affects others or us personally?

I don’t have the answers to these either but I know that success is a very subjective term. For some, it means having a steady paycheck at the end of each month. For the rest, it means pursuing their bliss, whether it involves a career or not.

I personally believe that success comes hand in hand with a sense of fulfillment, like I am contributing to the growth of something bigger than myself. This applies to relationships, careers and personal growth.

But this is all much easier to put into words than to apply to our everyday lives. What if we are already successful? How can we become more aware of our successes and small achievements?

Moreover, is losing one’s job the end of life or the beginning of a new one?

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