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Being Successful In Life: What It Means To Me

being successful in life

This post is going to be a personal post of mine. I have written something like this a long time ago but deleted it. Why? I cannot say. However, I am rewriting this with new insights into where I am now in life. I have experienced a bit in my life that made me ponder on this question for some time. 

So here I am, writing out the definition of what being successful in life means to me. And believe me, it’s going to be a lengthy one, so bear with me.

This post is personal; therefore, it is not intended to educate but rather inform and give insights into my own life. Everyone has their own beliefs and definition of how to live their life. This post depicts I learned to choose to live mine. 

Being successful in life is different for everyone, so is mine.

being successful in life

So let’s start by telling you a story…

When I was younger, my father would always tell me that the way to be successful in life is by going to school, get a promising career, and start a family ( I added the last part since my African parents didn’t talk about that sort of thing when I was younger). For the longest, I have believed in his words. But part of me, by watching others, wondered why friends, acquaintances, and people I’ve observed weren’t on the same path as I. 

Don’t everyone know that going to school and getting a good job the way to go?

But here’s the thing, though I was told to go to school and get a promising career, I did not have a plan of what I was going to do when I attended “school” (I later knew that college was the school my dad was talking about when I came to America). Being told this at a young age, especially when I just wanted to enjoy my youth, brought a bit of stress to my life. 

Ahh, the stresses of life choices as a youth…

So the first encounter of actually choosing what I wanted to was in the seventh grade. We had to create a project of what we wanted to do when we grew up. Boy, was I stumped. The sad thing is, at the time, I did not know what I wanted to do, so I “copied” the idea from my classmate. 

The project was about being a pediatrician, a children’s doctor. All I wanted was a good grade, I don’t even remember if I got a good grade or not, but I remember my classmate being upset that I copied her idea for the project. 

She had the right to be upset, but did she really need to get upset? 

As the years went by, I stuck with the idea that I would be a pediatrician when I headed to college. There were some reasons why I stuck with this idea: mostly to make my African parents proud (hence the African parents and their beliefs that being a doctor is the ultimate successful career any African child can obtain), for people to stop asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up (I was 12, all I wanted to do was hang with friends and read adventurous books), and to know that I will be labeled as a successful adult later in the future. 

Boy, could I be any wrong?

Or is it wronger?

Fast track to my college years, it was disappointments, confusion, with a bit of fun, and more confusion. 

Yes, I did start college, but I felt less confident in my chosen major when the semester kept going. Plus, I was falsely encouraging myself to succeed in this major, which would ultimately lead me to be a doctor. 

Being successful in life means paying attention to whether your decisions are appropriate for your life, even currently.

being successful in life

In all this, I believe that God placed all kinds of messages and people in my life to ponder on the decisions I made to be a doctor. And at some point, I was listening, and then I wasn’t. 

You see, I believe anyone can do all things they set their minds to do, but to some extent. For example, I am a born-again Christian. We are meant to live free, as in free from living a life of sexual immorality, lying, jealousy, etc. But that does not mean that this freedom is intended for our personal gain. It is not beneficial, nor can it glorify God. 

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.“I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.” 1 Corinthians 10;23 NIV via bible gateway 

You should always believe that you can live a great life but consider this…

I genuinely believe that one could live a great life, but the way one goes about it may not be the path that was theirs all along. It could affect you positively or break you, and only God knows where that path is. If you believe differently from my beliefs, that’s fine as long as you know that the way to get where you want to be may not be the set path you were meant to take. You may have to examine your values, know what you truly want, and test them out at times.

But let me not digress. 

The consequential path of going to school to be a doctor and not listening to what God was telling me was not good, leading me to rethink what I should have taken instead.

So I attended community college instead, which I wish I personally started with, instead of deciding to participate in a university. And in that journey, I changed my major, then finally transferred to the university. At that moment, I finally learned that being a doctor was not the path for me.

Being successful in life does not mean following the crowd.  

being successful in life

I had followed the crowds of people, or preferably their ideals, that led me to think that being a doctor or so was the pathway to success. And it was not. 

So what’s happened next? I changed my major from biology to child development. 

Now, was it the best decision I ever made? In a way, it was, but if I had to choose it again, it would have been a minor rather than a major. Plus, the path of child development was not difficult at all, and I learned a lot about children, whom I love working with right now. Truthfully, working with children, mainly, toddlers are not a joke, but it’s always rewarding to some levels. 

With any dreams or decisions you make, the path you take for it will be difficult, but it is always something you can handle. And it should not be difficult to the point where you are hurting yourself. With biology, I was constantly emotionally and mentally hurting myself. It was draining. It is not to say that I didn’t learn anything from this major. I always try to be grateful for the number of topics I learned while being a biology major.

So was choosing child development as my major a victory? I would say YES because I felt free as soon as I chose this major. It was very LIBERATING! Following along, I finished school and graduated with a bachelor of science in child development. 

What happened next…

I then got my first childcare job, which was great and challenging at the same time. But as I said, I am grateful for learning about myself and those around me. With a job, it led me to buy my first car and all things. 

But eventually, the concept of going to school and getting a career (or a job, I prefer to say) was not the ideal dream I sought all these years. I found myself crying and thinking: is that all there is, going to school and getting a career? 

I’m not mentioning marriage since it’ll come eventually if the Lord allows it. 

I even had a momentary discussion with my parents about what I was going through. In the end, I had to revisit what I truly wanted in life. 

Being successful in life is not (or entirely) about going to school and getting a career. 

I had to consider the choices I made in my life, and this was the conclusion I came with: 

Being successful in life is willing to understand that the things you seek are continuous achievements. 

The term success is defined as an accomplishment of an aim or purpose. 

So yes, I have succeeded in going to school and going to college. But for me, I now consider them as achievements.

The term achievement is defined as the thing done successfully with trying effort. 

As you can see, one cannot be successful if you have not achieved anything! 

So what am I saying here? Success, in itself, is comprised of achieving multiple things, not just being successful with one or two major things. 

Being successful in life is achieving lifestyle choices that meet your needs and want. 

So how do you define success?

If you want to define success, see it as a way that promotes you to live a well-lived life. For me, living a successful life is one that glorifies God rather than men. 

For me, I chose success in a way that only focused on getting to college and obtaining a career, and this was in the mindset of what my parents instilled in me. 

Part of this idea was not right, but it was also a blessing because it allowed me to put effort into what I thought was good for me. I learned hard work and discipline. You always have to see both sides of the coin y’all. 

But let’s not stop there. 

As of right now, I am seeking a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Why the change, you ask? Why do I still aim to go back to school?

The path of child development, eventually leading me to work with kids, was and is still an incredible journey, if the reality of working your 9-5 wasn’t part of it, but that’s another story. 

But, I think that’s what my journey is about, experiencing something new. And nothing is wrong with that. Though the number of loans I have acquired over the years will catch up to me, ehhh…

Awkward Dodge GIF by Tinashe - Find & Share on GIPHY

What I’ve learned…

Overall, I’ve learned, for myself, that going to school is not a measure of success. It is simply an achievement that I have chosen to complete in my life. And I will keep achieving success in my life by making choices that glorify God and lead me to enjoy my journey. 

When the Lord speaks, especially in what you’re going through, may be in the uncertain, most challenging times of your life. DON’T TAKE IT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.

So what does being successful in life means to me:

  1. Making healthy choices that promote my wellbeing.
  2. Enjoying the fruits of my daily labor daily.
  3. Not living under the shadow of what people’s definition of success means to me.
  4. Listening to God when he tells me something. It can be small or big, but listening to Him is the achievement that leads me to live a successful life journey-wise.

I don’t think success is a one-way definition. As I said, being successful in life can be succeeding at finally making a six-figure income from your business or even losing weight. But that’s someone else’s definition of success, not mines.

But even I don’t think living “successful” will measure up at all. Therefore, I choose to consider how I can achieve success daily through my health, thoughts, and devotion to God.

There you go. I hope this post informed you in some aspect. 

Until Next Time, thrive with purpose.

being successful in life

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