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How do you measure success? This particular question is of utmost importance to writers, artists, musicians alike because whether we like to admit it or not, this one word, ‘success’ is not only our arch-enemy, but it’s something we strive to achieve all our life, every waking moment, every thought and progression. It’s our life’s goal!
How do you then measure your success? What’s the scale you’re going by?
Say you have a small column in a newspaper, magazine, or you have published few short stories or poetry, or even a whole novel or two, or you are a blogger with thousands upon thousands of followers – are you then successful? Or you have had gigs and picked up more opportunities to perform as a musician, or if you are an artist, you have had gallery exhibitions, sold painting and have had rave reviews. Would you at that point consider yourself successful?
What is success in your terms?
Before we get to what a society deems as successful, you need to find your own definition. As an author myself, I have for many a years listened to the society’s idea of success – which always measures you against your ultimate goal and those that have already achieved it. In holding myself to that bar, I always found that no matter what I had managed to achieve, it was never good enough, not the best it could be, blah, blah, blah. And blah, blah, blah is exactly what that is at the end of the day! Rubbish. Nonsense. You know what that did? It held me back for longer than I should have let it.
To quickly fill you in on what these ‘achievements’ were: graduating with a degree in medical science field from a great University, doing a feature film course which saw me write and direct it amongst a plethora of other duties, completion of two novels and now, I’ve finally bit the bullet and started this blog and am seeing some success in wonderful readers and conversations with you. In my eyes, I have been successful. Yes, the whole world doesn’t know about my ‘successes’ to deem me successful, but should that matter?
Should that matter to any of us? You start writing something, working on a new project that has you very excited. You have found a great spring in your step because of your new inspiration/muse. In my view, I think you (and I) have every right to feel successful BECAUSE we are doing something we love, enjoy, can escape with, or feel glee.
Don’t let the outside voices pull you down, don’t let them rip at you and cut you, or pull the ladder from beneath you. It is your dream, your ambition, your efforts so why should the power to judge be passed on to others who are not on the same path, and thus will not be able to understand it fully? If you have written a poem and feel you achieved something, then you know what, you have! Whether it is a short story, limerick, poem, painting, drawing, short film, novels, scripts, photography, music – whatever it is that gives you a sense of achievement, you are allowed to bask in it. So go ahead, from this point on, from this day on, don’t let your euphoria get spoilt by opinions and judgements, just smile sweetly, sickly sweet, and keep going on with life much the same way you are, if that is what you enjoy!
I have this wonderful little book called “1001 Ways to Success” – belonging to Hinkler books, unfortunately there isn’t an author specified. There is a wonderful quote in it that I’d like to share with you today:
“Failure comes when you quit. If you are trying then you are succeeding.”
No one can tell how long your journey was, or how hard you fought for it. Wear your own boots and keep walking. YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL as long as you DON’T QUIT and keep walking.