Having trouble redefining what your own personal success is?
Everyone has different interpretations of reaching this concept of success, especially in an environment that has become so competitive. Meet with a counselor to redefine what is truly important to you and where you’d like to be in the future. Visit a counselor through Texas A&M’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) here on campus or talk to someone through the Student Counseling Helpline at 979-845-2700.
I am a student host for SoundBytes, the Texas A&M Engineering podcast, and I’ve had the opportunity to interview so many amazing student leaders, program directors and people with tremendous and far-reaching impact! Separating me from every phenomenal person I’ve interviewed are only two microphones and a mixing station. Unfortunately, being that close to other successful people doesn’t mean that I can osmotically become more successful, nor does it mean I can easily define what success looks like in my life.
We live in a society that praises the scarcity of being the best: there are fewer spots for the most specialized jobs, and lower acceptance rates for the top universities. Society attempts to condition us to see success as a pie: if someone is successful, there’s somehow less success (less pie) in the world left for us. I got this from the book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Restoring The Character Ethic by Stephen R. Covey. I had this tendency to think I was “less than” because I believed people around me seemed to always be doing bigger and better things, which subconsciously meant that I wasn’t doing enough. Success seemed to always sit across from me, while I sat back in awe. After a lot of reflection and growth, I realized that the work I was doing was meaningful to me, and that will always be enough. My passion coupled with hard work can easily drive more of an impact than my hard work alone, and that doesn’t change, regardless of the circumstances.
What being a part of the podcast has really taught me is that being a good listener (and being happy) means letting go of my ego. To really have a good, engaging conversation with someone else, we must be genuinely interested in their ideas, and that interest opens avenues to the other’s most inspiring thoughts. It takes letting go of our need to prove our self-worth to allow us to be warm to strangers and help them open up, something that I’m still learning and practicing with every episode.
I realized that the work I was doing was meaningful to me, and that will always be enough. My passion coupled with hard work can easily drive more of an impact than my hard work alone, and that doesn’t change, regardless of the circumstances.
We don’t really need to be “successful” to be happy; all we need to do is accept ourselves and empower more people to accept themselves, too. If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be the following:
Stop looking for the unique as your source of interesting and try and find interesting in every corner of the world, including you! You, yourself, are a miracle and you have the power to make the world kinder. You’re doing the best that you can, in the best way that you know how, and, yes, that absolutely does change the world. Your best is enough and it always has been, even in ways that you can’t see in the moment.
We are so much more than a list of our accomplishments, and it’s time we started thinking as much! We’re all facing one of the hardest challenges we’ve ever faced. Why don’t we all aim to share with each other a little grace and joy? I know my life could use it and I’d love to share it with anyone who needs it, too.