How My Thoughts About Success and Failure Have Changed (and Made Me Freer!)

In this blog post, I want to describe how my thoughts about success and failure have changed and enabled me to feel freer.

I have been a very conscientious person for as long as I can remember. I have wanted to do the right things, pick the right choices, answer the correct answers… 

However, during my adulthood, I realized that the way I used to define succeeding and failing wasn’t serving me and supporting my well-being. I think many people can benefit from revisiting their definition of success and failure. That’s why I thought I’d tell you about the reframe I made and how that has been more helpful.

First of all, especially in this ever-changing world, I don’t think there is only one correct answer. I suppose the need to pick the right choices has been following many of us since our school years. When we were having exams at school, there often were the right choices. 

After all, the goal was to show that we’ve learned what the textbooks told us about the topic. That may seem obvious, and still, many people struggle with making decisions because they are trying to make the “right” decision. 

Defining success as saying the right things, picking the right choices, etc., in a world of practically infinite possibilities hasn’t turned out helpful at all. If anything, it has been limiting, disempowering, and kept me stuck for ages.

Where to live and who to live with?

What to study?

What kind of jobs to apply to or what type of business to start?

All of these require decisions. If we are looking to make the “correct” ones from the start, we probably will be disappointed.


Redefining Failure and Success

Now let me describe how I have redefined failing and succeeding.

Whenever I notice that I’ve made a choice that doesn’t feel truly aligned with my values, I don’t actually consider it a failure. When I realize that I am thinking, “this is not what I want,” I take that as a sign of progress. I am getting more clarity about what feels good to me, what feels aligned. And that allows me to make better choices in the future. Nowadays, I define success as living my life aligned with my values. And a big part of that is getting more and more clear about what feels right to me. 

It isn’t about what other people think success should look like or what the previous generations say success is. 

It is about how aligned I feel with my choices and the actions I take. 

I’d love to hear how you define success in your life. Are you satisfied with your current definition of success, or do you think you could define it in a new way that is more suitable for you?

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