In a world where everyone is attached to numbers, defining success can be challenging. Scott Westerfeld published the book Extras, the fourth book in his Uglies series, in 2007. Extras tells the story of a world where literally everything is a popularity contest. It’s exactly like the online world of social media today. In 2007, Twitter was in its infancy, Instagram didn’t exist, and Facebook was just becoming popular. Did Scott Westerfeld somehow predict the future?
What is success? A few years ago, I had a conversation with a co-worker about success. I was 21, just out of college, and was feeling like I was on a huge plateau while everyone else my age was soaring to success. By age 21, Taylor Swift had three hit albums. By 21, young men and women are movie stars, running corporations, and publishing novels. If they’re not doing that, then they’re getting married and raising families.Your twenties are the time to pave the path to your future.
My co-worker’s response will remain ingrained in my brain forever. She said, “Nicole, I don’t think one person’s success can be compared to another person’s. Everyone measures his or her success differently.”
That co-worker’s name was Pam Meeker. She passed away on Halloween 2015. While she’s no longer physically here, her wisdom will stick with me and all the lives she touched for eternity.
I realize now that it’s silly to compare myself to others. Everyone is on his or her own path, and your twenties aren’t the end of the road. The twenties are just the beginning. It’s the decade for discovering yourself and the world around you, which is one reason I have no problem being single.
We all have a purpose, and some of us will find that purpose later in life than others. Most importantly, the number of Twitter followers or Facebook friends you have doesn’t reflect your worth or how successful you are.
Success comes from within. It’s your happiness that counts, and your happiness alone. Look around at your surroundings right now and ask yourself: “Are you happy?”
If the answer is, “Yes,” then you’re succeeding.
If the answer is, “No,” then create a goal. Strive to achieve that goal. You’re still a work in progress, and that’s perfectly okay.
I’m still a work in progress.