We measure personal success in steps. We treat the notion of success as a checklist. We tell ourselves that, theoretically, after crossing off everything on the list, we will have attained success, whether it be in the short-term or the long run.
We see success as a destination. One that each of us has different metrics for. Once we graduate high school, finish med school, or landing a job, we will have reached that destination. Personally, I always measured success through "impact." I thought that my success could only be quantified through the number of lives I had impacted.
Not only was this a directionless and unquantifiable aim, but I was also viewing success the wrong way.
When viewing personal success as a destination and measure it through arbitrary goals, we cease to realize that goals and the highs that come with accomplishing them are transitory. As we get closer to reaching that destination, the one we correlate with "success," we relocate this goal. And with that, the system repeats, creating a never-ending cycle where we are never actually fulfilled.
Success isn't a destination, it's our growth and expansion in the process of accomplishing a goal. Success comes from living in harmony with the peaks, the lows, the regrets, and the mistakes we make.
The knowledge we gain and the lessons we learn along the way aren't necessarily quantifiable, but being intentional about the process itself is what makes all the difference. When I began to reflect on the mistakes I made over the past year, but especially on the growth I made, I learned so much more about myself, than I would have if I continued reaching for peaks on a never-ending mountain, without acknowledging my setbacks. We only grow when we acknowledge and learn from the past, while using that knowledge to be cognizant of the future.