What Defines Success and Failure?

By Lisa Striffolino


What does it mean to succeed? How can you measure success? If you aren’t succeeding, are you failing?

In my opinion, it’s impossible to analyze this as a whole, as it relates to each and every human in a different way.

Success is defined in the dictionary as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

Failure is defined as a lack of success.

So, the dictionary states these two as being exactly the opposite of each other. I have to say that I somewhat disagree. Just because you may not feel you have reached your desired purpose in a certain time frame, by no means makes you a failure in the condescending way of the word that is known to be most popular.

If your goal is to have a lot of money by the time you’re 25 and you have 30 dollars in your bank account on your 25th birthday, I don’t think that means that you have failed. I think that by looking at each memory you’ve made on your journey that has led you to your 25th birthday, you’ll realize all of the ways you have succeeded on a day-to-day basis. I mean, if you cap your success off at a certain age, where do you go from there? . 

What success means to one person can mean something entirely different to someone else. Some would say that money equals success. Others would say it’s all about building a family and friendships. Personally, I feel as though I am succeeding when I am able to do things on a daily basis that make me happy. Each and every person is on their own, unique path to success. 

The key point that must be taken away from a discussion about success and failure is that comparing yourself to others will do nothing for you except catapult you down an anxiety spiral. No one else on this planet is the scale that measures your success or your so-called failure.

What do you gain from giving yourself unrealistic expectations based on a life that isn’t even your own? If you want to push yourself to accomplish something, do so in a way that will make you feel good. Push yourself in a way that doesn’t place yourself in a marathon of the people that you surround yourself with. Success is all relative. Failure is simply a lesson learned. Both measure growth.

That’s really all that the concept of success and failure are made up of when you think about it. It’s growth. We are an ever-changing and evolving species. Life does not simply end when you reach a point that you denote in your head as a success or as a failure. Everything is a lesson and a jumping-off point to bigger and better things. The cycle continues.

There is no true way to measure success. Thus, there is never an accurate place in your life to point out failure. Let yourself encounter some bumps in the road to realize that life is genuinely just a never-ending process of learning. You’re succeeding, trust me.

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