Success is something I’ve thought about since I was a young teenager. From an early age the pressure of being successful is thrust upon us; in the UK, for example, we’re forced to think about our future and what goals we want to achieve from as early as thirteen or fourteen years old when we choose which subjects to study, and this decision often has a profound effect on the rest of our lives.
I think our perception of success changes with age and our personal experiences. It also varies hugely between cultures; not only Western and Non- Western Cultures, but also between countries that seem to have relatively similar cultures. To give you an example, a sixteen year old Amy would have told you that she will feel successful when she has a full time job, a house and a husband. Perhaps even some children. Fast forward eight years and my whole idea of what success is is completely different. I think the main reason for this is that I am completely different. The experiences upon which I base my decisions and opinions are now much more varied. And I think that is the key to defining success.
Success is not one goal, one path or one type of achievement. Success comes in many forms and levels. I also don’t think that success is comparable. How can you compare Maya Angelou’s success in literature to Mae Jemison’s success in astrophysics? Success isn’t comparable because it is relative. Success for one person might be passing an exam, getting a degree or having the dream job they had always worked towards, while for another person it might be that they look after their health or that they’ve been positive for a whole day. The term ‘success’ is meaningful to us because of our experiences. It is defined by what it means to each individual. And that’s what I really want whoever reads this to take away from this entry. If you’re working on something that makes you happy or towards a goal that is important to you, you are successful. You define your success because you choose your goals. You choose what you want to do with your life, and if you’re doing what you want to do with your life, or if you’re on your way to doing so, you are successful. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.