How to measure success

Money is a popular measure of success, but there are many more. The great news is its your life and you get to choose what they are.
October 29, 2020

A few weeks ago I went out hiking in a national park. It was a coastal walk with stunning ocean views, expansive vistas and awe inspiring waterfalls. While walking I felt calm, connected and joyful. I had a deep feeling of abundance and was filled with a joy for living. In that moment it occurred to me – isn’t this what being successful is all about?

That walk created a shift in me. It changed the way I began thinking about success. For all of my twenties I measured my success in life by how much money I had. The more I had, the more successful I was. The less I had, the less I was.

Because I wasn’t a good business person this meant I judged myself as less than. I walked with shame and internalised that I was a loser. This heaviness was my constant companion.

In that time I had great health, had a beautiful fiancee, married said fiancee, enjoyed life together, got a dog, had wonderful friends that inspired me, lived in an amazing city and was able to get a job that paid nicely. And make art too.

Didn’t matter. Loser.

But what if I thought differently? I’ve come to learn that life has many components. Finances are just one of them.

There’s health, career, friends and family, partner and romance, personal growth and fun and recreation to name a few.

Focusing on just one slice of the pie at the expense of the others means your ROI on life is greatly reduced. There are so many other areas that can give you joy and they’re being forgotten and neglected.

To measure success in your life, know what you want to create and experience for each slice of the pie. Then measure yourself against that. The beauty of this is its personal and individual to you. You can live your life by your rules, rather than random measures others have deemed important.

Here are some ideas on the different ways you can measure your life:

Health

  • How alive you feel at the start of each day.
  • How easily you can run X metres.
  • How flexible you are.

Career

  • How many connections you have that truly inspire you.
  • How many projects you’ve completed that you’re proud of.
  • How much fun and connection you feel to the work you do on a daily basis.

Friends and family

  • How connected you feel to your friends and family.
  • The last time you all had fun together.
  • The last time you had a meaningful conversation with a friend or family member.

Partner and romance

  • How connected you feel to your partner.
  • Average number of times you have sex each week.
  • The last time you both did something awesome together.

Personal growth

  • Number of new skills that you’ve learnt this year.
  • Number of courses or challenges you’ve undertaken to stretch yourself.

Fun and recreation

  • The last time you had fun doing something you love.
  • The last time you went on an adventure doing something cool.

These are just ideas to get you thinking. The key is taking the time to sit with yourself and mulling it over and asking “what’s important to me?” then consciously choosing to live your life in alignment with that. It’s ok to change your mind and its ok to change your priorities. By doing this life becomes a beautiful thing where you become better at living in alignment with your own values and creating a life that’s truly rich and meaningful to you.

Some people call that success 🙂

David Pita is an artist and writer and consults as a web designer and conversion copywriter. His writing explores how to thrive and succeed as a human and his art is an expression of vibrant joy.

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