What is success?




I remember growing up, hearing a lot of my friends say that they want to be successful in life when they grew up. But as I got older, I realized that everyone’s definition of success varies quite vastly from one person to the next. Some people saw success as owning many sports cars and being a successful business owner. Others saw success as following in the footsteps of someone that they viewed as successful. But what is success?

Now, this is only from what I’ve seen and experienced, but I feel that success is something that is entirely relevant to your situation. You don’t have to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner in order to be a successful person. You don’t have to be the founder of a new technology that will revolutionize the way people live. Yea, that’s totally an awesome goal to reach for, but you can find success in everyday little things as well.

As humans, I feel that we are accustomed to having something more. We are never quite satisfied with where we are at. If we could only have that one object, or know that certain person, everything would be better. But I’ve found out that it doesn’t matter what the ‘next’ thing is, if you’re not satisfied with yourself, then you might miss all of those little things is life that can make even the smallest successes into the greatest achievements.


In high school, I felt that the greatest success would be if I were to get into the college that I wanted to. But now that I’m in that college, it doesn’t really feel like the success that I had imagined. Now my vision of success is to graduate and get a job. But being in Air Force ROTC really is a blessing in that I don’t have to worry about that. It’s always something more, what can I do more to be more successful. It is a consuming dilemma.

But I realize that success is what you make it. I realize that if I look back one year from today and see the type of person that I was then, if my past self would be proud of the person I am now, that is success for me. If I am a better person now, than I was one year ago, that is something that I am proud of. And what does ‘better’ necessarily mean?

We live in a world with over 7 billion people now. It is very easy to look down on others or be selfish and look out for #1. Very easy. But success for me is knowing that I am just another person, knowing that I can make a difference in the life of someone else. A few summers ago, I went to a camp for disabled children, a volunteer opportunity to serve those that were diagnosed with various debilitating illnesses. It was one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve had the opportunity to have. At the end, the camper I took care of was in tears, because he told me that out in the ‘real’ world no one has treated him with the love and care that we were able to provide. And it was definitely a stinger to the heart, because knowing that when he went back to his school others would pick on him (some of his stories were heartbreaking). For these kids, this camp is heaven and knowing that I made a difference in one other person, I saw that as a major success in my life. Knowing that I can be like a large majority of people, looking out for only myself, but I choose not to be. I have the means and the resources to help others, so why keep it all to myself?

Because of that one experience, along with a countless others, I am on my current path now of being that officer in the Air Force. Why, the Air Force? Serving in the military that protects the rights of people like you and me seemed to be the best way I felt that I could give back. Not only that but following the example that my dad put forth, being in the Army was a major contributor to my decision. I don’t know what it was, but there’s just something so gratifying in helping others and putting yourself 2nd to put the needs of those around you.

And that is what success is to me. Knowing that if I’m able to make someone’s life even just a bit more easy at my expense, it was all worth it in the end. It’s not what I can do for myself, or about the amount of money, or the number of people that you know. It’s about knowing that someone did that for me, who didn’t even know me, before I was even born. This one’s to the one that saw the value in my life even before I was born. This one’s to you, Jesus.

From 2009

From 2009

18 Comments to “What is success?”

  1. So touching . And I admire you for doing the work. That is success.

  2. Wow! Such a beautiful view about success!
    It completely resonates with me.
    I enjoyed the read! :)

    • Awesome! It’s definitely something that took me awhile to figure out, but I still have a long way to go I feel. Maybe when I’m 80 I’ll know what makes something so successful. Thanks for always stopping by :D

  3. Great read, mate! Like you, I don’t think success is measured against the material things you can show of but a feeling deep within oneself. Knowing that you touched the lives and hearts of other people. Knowing that you’ve evolved as a person and are proud of who you are.
    Oh, and happy Easter!

    • Thanks! And I agree with you 100%. The material definition of success changes with the times, but I think if you are true to yourself (and what you believe in), everything else will fall into place and you will have success in that way.
      I noticed that you’ve changed you name?! I almost thought you were somebody else, but I knew your picture :P so it was all good. Hope you had an awesome Easter as well!

      • I changed the username. I wanted to have the same on all my social media crap like Twitter and Tumblr. I didn’t consider it would require me awaiting comment moderation on blogs I commented on for ages. Well, now I know. I noticed it a while ago. I believe my full name is still there when you look at my gravatar. A bit confusing. Sorry for that.

        Easter was fine, had a great day today. Hope yours was good too!

      • Alright, yea that makes sense. Haha, no worries I was just wondering why the change in the name, is all. Not too confusing. Easter was great, got to get some well needed time away from everything and regain my composure to finish off this semester. Just a few more weeks left before summer again. Crazy how time flies…

  4. That was awesome. And sweet. And… awwwww man….

  5. You have expressed such wisdom so well. Success is an awareness of who we are and what we are doing, which, of course, corresponds to how we affect others and the world. Specific goals can so clutter that awareness, and bring in all kinds of unproductive feelings. There is a depth and purity in what you wrote and how you are approaching your life, and your knowing that there is always as much to learn as to achieve.

    • I honestly have no words for this. I sat here for 5 minutes thinking how I would be able to respond to these words that are just too kind. But I couldn’t think of anything, since you’ve just took the words right out of my mouth. I want to thank you though for making my day. Too cool.

  6. Very genuine and thought provoking take on success, I really enjoyed reading. Success is what we define it to be. Adding to the discussion, I think different standpoints are what make everyone of us unique. Our ideas of success come from environments, experiences, and who we are as a person. Although one of the best things in life is to be satisfied with who you are, it is never an excuse to be stagnant; and I think sometimes it is the dissatisfaction with our current state that moves us to achieve our goals and become more “successful”. (Note the word more.) Because we are constantly growing, our ideas of success are constantly changing. Thus what was success to you once, may not be success to you now. Also, there are certain attributes that should always be a part of being well rounded and successful person, like honesty, kindness, and helping others. Great post!

    • Absolutely. Nailed it right on the head. As long as your breathing, I think you should always strive to do the best that you can in what ever ways that you can. Giving it your 100% on everything you do. Just in the last few years, I’ve definitely pushed the bar higher and higher for myself and although it is hard at times, almost all the time, it’s a gratifying feeling knowing that I can do things that I would never have thought I would be able to do. It also helps when you’re surrounded by those that share the same interest as you do, to help encourage you when you feel down. Some of the things that I’ve done, there would be no way that I would have completed it without those that are around me. But anyways, I’m rambling here haha. But thank you for reading Miss T! It’s good to see you around again! Hope everything’s well with you :) Although, what happened to your blog?!

      • Yes! Well said. Thank you for sharing! I am well. Nothing happened, I just took a break from blogging that ended up lasting longer than previously anticipated. Lol (refer to my latest post). Anywho, good to be back in the game!

      • Oh nice! Well that’s awesome to hear! And I totally understand, I’m not on here as much but I definitely try to get to the comments as quick as I can though. I was just wondering because unless you started up a new blog, I can’t seem to get to your old one :(

  7. Finally back on wordpress and had to come see what you’re up to :) I really appreciate what you’ve written here, in simple and powerfully personal terms. I just wrote a post about perfectionism. The way I’m beginning to see it, perfectionism- even if directed toward meaningful goals such as you describe- is nearly always self-centric because of the pressure it puts on a person, most of which isn’t even real. What matters is the impact you have on others, to raise them up and give them the confidence to do the same for the people they interact with. And by focusing on whether your own actions are “perfect,” it is almost impossible to break through that barrier and truly connect to the people you are trying to help. You’ve always been really humble and real on your blog, which shows not only a lot of courage but makes people want to come back for more. Like you said, what you say or do doesn’t have to make national news or become a bestseller- touching one person’s life in a positive way is already success, especially if it is out of a genuine desire to give of yourself out of care for others. Glad to see your success is still going strong!

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