February 22, 2023
min read

How to (really) measure your success

We tend to measure ourselves by our achievements. We try to feel good about ourselves & remind ourselves that we’re “enough” because of all the challenges we’ve overcome in the past.

We use our past achievements as our barometer for success. We think, “I must be successful because here are all the things I’ve done”. But the irony is this:

The person we’ve become BY overcoming those challenges and going through those struggles will never be impressed by those achievements. The person we are now is on a whole other level.

That’s a natural part of growth I think.

We’ll never be impressed by the challenges we’ve faced, the problems we’ve solved, or the struggles we’ve had. It’s like the riddle that’s mind-blowingly difficult until you know the solution. Then it seems simple in hindsight.

It’s incredible how fast the problems that keep us up at night and seem to turn our whole world upside down become “minor hiccups in the road” once we get through them.

Using our past achievements to tell ourselves “yes you’re enough and yes you’re doing fine” will never work. If we’re really growing and pushing ourselves, everything we’ve achieved in the past pales in comparison to what we’re facing now.

But that got me thinking…

If we’re only ever impressed by the challenges we have yet to face and the problems we have yet to solve, why not celebrate those instead?

As they say, the higher you go, the bigger your problems get.

What if, instead of measuring ourselves by the achievements we’ve had, we measure ourselves by the problems we GET to solve and the challenges we GET to face?

This changed everything for me.

It’s helping me reframe those moments of struggle. Those moments when I’m thinking “I can’t do this. I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing. Who let me in here?!”

Instead if seeing challenges as obstacles to my goal, they ARE the goal. Instead of chasing achievements, I try to chase challenges instead.

It’s thinking, “Holy crap, I can’t believe these are the problems I get to solve now!” instead of “WHYYY do all these problems keep coming?!”.

That’s made all the difference.

Now, when I look back on the version of myself from a year ago, I’m excited. And proud. Because I remember the challenges that almost destroyed me. And I know today, I could handle them without a second thought.

I see the problems I struggle with now and the ones I did then. They’re so much more difficult, so much more meaningful, and they take everything I’ve got. A year ago, I couldn’t have even understood the problems I get to work on now, let alone solve them.

There’s beauty in the struggle. The challenges in life will never stop coming. The problems will only get harder. So why not celebrate them? Not only that, why not run towards them?


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