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What is Success?


I believe most of us can testify to seeing someone living a luxurious life and desiring that. Especially coming from rural areas, a luxurious lifestyle is what most people strive for and perhaps that is where the perception of success is derived. So what is success? Is it a specific kind of lifestyle or is it something else entirely?

I have spent most of my life trying to be successful, according to what I thought success was. During those times, success seemed like a strange destination with no clear road or direction. The majority of humanity is stuck in a loop on this weird road, trying all sorts of things just so that we can say we made it. The thing is: the more I evolved mentally into the person I am today, the more I realised that success is not complicated nor is it a matter of material accumulation or competing with others.

I still remember when I was still in school, we had a grade system where smart students would be graded as first, second, third etc. This was in a way, a way to measure success, which student was more successful in regurgitating the work learned in class. This grading method does not necessarily leave us as we leave school and start our own families. We look at the people around us and the things they have and then measure their success according to that. So is success about material accumulation or is it something else entirely? Having the latest model of a certain car, building a specific type of house and going to vacation on exotic destinations.

To understand what success is, we have to go to the basics. Let’s say you, yes you reading this right now woke up today and your goal for the day was to achieve something, nothing big, something small and attainable in one day. Say you want to make an English breakfast without burning down the kitchen, and you go ahead and do it and it comes out right, you eat it and enjoy it and you feel good. Would you say you succeeded or you failed? If you say you succeeded, would you say success is complicated or not? I know I’d say it’s not complicated, in fact it’s simpler than we imagine.

If your goal is to build a 2 bedroom flat with a lounge and a kitchen, then if you succeed in doing that you are successful. Don’t worry about what other people are doing with their time and money, just focus on what you want to achieve and work hard to make that happen. It’s when we compare ourselves to others that we bind ourselves to a mentality that is fashioned primarily to harm us. I see it all the time, people taking out loans to get things they can’t afford otherwise, just so they can say they also have it. This mentality has rid us of patience, we don’t know how to wait (save up) for the things we want. We want instant gratification and it needs to be trending as well.

There is nothing wrong with desiring beautiful things, it’s a great motivation to keep us hustling. Unfortunately, this pressure does not only come from the young generation, it comes from parents too, where in so many cases parents pressure their youth (especially girls) to marry into rich families to ensure the family succeeds. In the olden days, this was the main reason for many people getting into arranged marriages.

The point for this post is to help the youth find a path which makes the most sense for them. Life has taken a strange turn now with Covid lurking around, it’s important that we realign our focus and only do that which will help us survive. Of what help is living a “luxurious” life beyond your means while you stress every night about the many loans and overdue credit card payments? Adding that kind of stress in our lives during this time should be the last thing on a very long list of things we don’t want to do.

So, next time we see someone with flashy material things, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and get lost in coveting that. Let us remember where we are going, the goals we have set for ourselves for that day, and take things one day at a time. The only time we needed to compete for our survival was in the vaginal canal towards the egg, and now that you’re reading this, it means you have won that race, from here on, you need not to compete with anyone. Tune everyone out of your view and zoom in on what you want to achieve.

To all the parents out there, do be kind to your children, before you expect them to help you correct your mistakes, allow them to set up their own lives, let them have their own homes, and if they can afford to help you out, then you will see them do it. I used to think the previous statement would apply only to black parents, now that I have travelled and lived among other races, the story is the same for all of us. I get it that parents sacrifice a lot to grow these children and to give them a life that makes sense, in the same breath, it is their responsibility as they are the parent in this situation. Without parents there won’t be children. I personally don’t have children now, simply because I have nothing to give them, I still have to set up my own life. Until my life makes enough sense, children will have to wait and there is nothing wrong with that.

In summary, success is:

Setting a goal and achieving it regardless of its magnitude.

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