The key to success? It’s all about the definition

Success is an interesting word

It’s defined by various dictionaries as achieving an aim or purpose. In the real world though, success is often used interchangeably with the achievement of wealth. Hardly anyone thinks about the key to success as being defined by happiness. Personally I think this is where many of our self-esteem problems arise from.

We are taught from a young age that we are not wealthy without having made a million by the age of 30. What is it with the pressure to accumulate wealth by age thirty anyway. As if giving away all your youth to focus on being money hungry is the only real sense of  achievement that we are capable of.

I don’t think it is.

In my own case, I speak openly about my failure to achieve the dream career and become a lawyer. A goal that was somehow a part of who I was until I got to that point and suddenly realised that actually, that’s not at all who I am on the inside.

The measure of success - It's all about the definition | Tyranny of Pink

A happy life starts with your own goals

What really made me happy was going out there and making a real and tangible difference in the world. To me, success was defined as doing good in the world, even if that meant only one person’s life was changed. If I had somehow been a part of something good for someone else, I was happy. It was about linking my goals and my purpose to the way I spend the majority of my time.

And so a career in Social Development was born.

Fast forward a few years later and while I still feel very strongly about those kinds of issues, success for me has become more about personal life goals and finding happiness. Being happy for me is the ultimate achievement. I realised that the key to success was just doing the things that I love. Waking up every day and looking forward to my life is what I can honestly say success is about. Sure it’s harder when you choose this path. Sure it’s much nicer never having to worry about paying bills but it’s not a trade-off I’m prepared to make by giving up my happiness. Life for me has so much meaning because I’m doing what I love to do. Success is about living my purpose and that’s what it should be about.

I will never allow myself to be defined by someone else’s goals or their understanding of success. I will never again put myself and my needs as a human being second to earning a salary because that is no way to earn a life.

[bctt tweet=”Happiness and success go hand in hand. #QOTD”]

Being happy is what I define as the key to success. I don’t care what that looks like but if it makes you happy then get out there and do it. If that means making money then that’s totally okay. You have to do the things that give your life meaning and make you feel fulfilled. Success is linking your purpose and your goals to the way you spend your time.

Just be sure that whatever it is that drives you, isn’t someone else’s idea of how things should be.

Jonelle |Tyranny of Pink



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  • Angie Nelson
    2nd August 2015

    Love the quote. Who cares how successful others see you as being if you are unhappy?

    • TyrannyofPink
      Angie Nelson
      2nd August 2015

      Oh Angie!! I absolutely love that quote!! New life motto!

  • jtrogstad
    1st August 2015

    I completely agree with you! Success is based on your happiness, not on material things. You can’t take it with ya when you go, so you might as well enjoy the ride and make it worth it! 🙂

    • TyrannyofPink
      2nd August 2015

      I want to high five you for this comment!! Absolutely!!

  • Kim L
    1st August 2015

    I LOVE your post…I’ve been wrestling with exactly what you are saying this summer. I think happiness is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing. I do want to wake up every morning and do things that make me happy everyday. I just have to continue to believe in MY definition of success, not someone else’s.

    • TyrannyofPink
      Kim L
      2nd August 2015

      Thank you Kim! I’m so glad it resonates with you. I’ve suddenly discovered I can be REALLY happy since accepting that it’s about living a life that I want to live instead of the life that others expect me to live. Usually, those kinds of expectations stem from disappointments in their own lives and actually have very little to do with you in the first place. The dad who always wanted to be a Dr, pushes his daughter to become a Dr etc. Go live your own best life!!

  • Sheila @ BrainPowerBoy
    1st August 2015

    I have written about this in relation to people pushing children, especially in schools, so much that they don’t have time to play, explore, and find out what they really enjoy. I agree with you about happiness. Yet, we still have to pay the bills. So for us it is all about balance.

    • TyrannyofPink
      Sheila @ BrainPowerBoy
      1st August 2015

      I can completely relate to that. I was always expected in school to get the highest grade possible. It makes a person very critical of what is actually success, when an A grade is not an A+ and thus never good enough. I do agree that money is necessary but as you say, it’s certainly about balance because knowing you have to earn a salary doesn’t mean the same as measuring your self worth in terms of that salary. It’s that unrealistic pressure that is the problem.

  • Elizabeth
    1st August 2015

    Having the self awareness to know what you want, as opposed to what others expect of you, is the first step to becoming successful. So congratulations to you all for sorting out what it is you want!

    • TyrannyofPink
      1st August 2015

      Absolutely! And yet it’s often the most challenging part of the whole journey. It takes real courage to admit to yourself what you want and then follow through in living your life that reflects that.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • catjuggles
    20th July 2015

    Great great post! Honestly being happy is what life is all about

    • TyrannyofPink
      20th July 2015

      Thank you! I agree but it’s so easy to be swept up in the every day of it all that takes us so far away from what matters!

  • ella
    20th July 2015

    Stop being inside my mind it is so creepy! I am about to embark on a fragmented work life (so dramatic I am) Half the week I will be in an office doing what I loved but people kept telling me was not ENOUGH, the rest of the week I work for myself creating and it gives me the opportunity to help out where I am needed, and although I will be earning less, I have never felt quite this successful 🙂

    • TyrannyofPink
      20th July 2015

      hahah party trick: mind reading heheh

      I love your comment…It’s the first time in as far back as I can remember that I’m not earning a regular salary and it’s the first time I’ve EVER felt like I’m living the life I’m meant to. Don’t you let other people tell you what is enough because only we can sleep peacefully knowing we are fulfilled… The hard part is learning to stop listening to the “helpful voices” telling us what we should be doing. I say let them go do it… 😛

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