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The Measure of Success

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Photo by Nicholas Sampson on Unsplash

What does it mean to lead a successful life?


We all think about it. Sometimes, it's too scary to think about, so we go back to our doom scrolling or TV binging or knitting and listening to podcasts, whatever distracts us from the thought of a "wasted life".


I like to define success as "leaving a place better than you've found it". In those terms, I'm already successful because I have brought two fantastic kids into this world who make it better just by being. But while these lovely kids are in school or on YouTube, I try to contribute something in other ways. That means writing and publishing because I believe (perhaps vainly) that my writings can sometimes make people think about a topic differently. Even if they don't change their minds or agree with me, they might be more open to thinking about mental health issues or other issues in more than black and white terms. Or they might feel seen in a way that wasn't available to them before.


I was thinking today about leaving a physical place better than I've found it. What does that mean, leaving a room better than I've found it? It means seeing the people in that room as people, seeing whether I can do anything for them, even if it's just asking how they're doing. It means maybe chucking a bit of trash into the bin, or tidying up a surface (at home, I wouldn't tidy up other people's homes), or putting a note up with an encouraging message.


Maybe what's better for me isn't better for other people. That's fair, and "better" is a bit vague as a goal. But occupying the space I do thoughtfully, intentionally is a good start.


How do you measure success?

Hey there! Thanks for reading :) I would love to hear your thoughts about this. Just click on the chat icon in the bottom right corner, or reply to the email.


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