When Katie was prepping for her interview for her suave, new London job, I threw this question at her.
“How do you evaluate success?” She looked at me blankly, her perfect, crafted answers dropping back down her throat. “Um…”
“How do you know you’re successful?”
Together we modelled a perfect interview answer, saying that most people see success as relative to money, but Katie (and I) saw it as coming back from a day, and feeling like you have worked hard on something and that you’re a part of something.
Okay. So, if that is how we see success, can you be successful by yourself? Does success evolve from being a part of a group?
Of course, you can be successful by yourself, there are so many examples of success we can point to, if we evaluate success in comparison to wealth or general standard of living.
But this is not what I am interested in. I know many of you reading will immediately suggest that success comes from happiness. Am I happy?
But naturally, happiness cannot be physically measured, so can we even ask the question “how do you evaluate success?”
Today, I feel successful. I woke up feeling energised, I woke up excited for my day. I made a very student lunch (chicken steak and barbecue sandwich), helped myself to a black coffee. I took it to my room, and read a play that I will be directing for an assessment.
I went to two lectures, and on the way home, I recorded an 8 minute long voice recording to my sister, rambling about how grateful I feel. Since I have been singing loudly to music, and annoying my flatmates.
If we look at this, what is it about this that made me feel successful?
Perhaps if we look at this objectively, my basic needs are satisfied; I am fed, watered and I slept very well. I gained academic satisfaction through my tuition, and the content interested me incredibly. I was engaged, and perhaps, I feel a part of a wider community.
If we look a little deeper, I feel successful because I have been making my own healthy food (minus said chicken sandwich) for a month now. My flatmate said I was “thriving”, and I asked him “that means I’m doing well right?”. I have proven to myself I can fuel my body and my strength without depending on anyone else.
I have started to regularly go to the gym, and it has only powered my fierce independence. I feel stronger in my body and mind.
But also, from this snippet of my day, I have been getting my work done. I am currently on top of things, and I don’t know why I’m surprised by that.
But ultimately. I deem my success because I have someone to send an 8-minute recording of my day to. When I was waiting for my life to start, I was afraid that I would somehow fall out of the world or something, I wouldn’t cope; see exhibit A where Evee falls flat on her face.
But here I am doing it, and I think success is a mixture of achieving your goals, feeling grateful, but ultimately having people around you who love and support you. You can still be successful when it’s the last thing you feel, if you have love around you.
It has been a long time coming, but I think I finally recognise that Katie and I are in a successful period of our lives.
How do you evaluate success?
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