Personal Development

Stop Using Achievements To Validate Yourself

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We are all blessed to have long, prosperous lives, despite whoever wants to say "life's too short". We all get to grow, experience, change, succeed and fail.

It's too bad then that so many people put so much weight on the latter two – success and failure, as a way to validate whether the life they are living is worthy or not. When we are young we put pressure on ourselves to get good grades in school and make our parents happy. This continues into adulthood when some of us have very strict parents that demand high GPA's; the constant cycle of overachievement and high demands becomes too much for some to bear. We develop stress and start alienating ourselves and others.

achievementsIt's safe to say that most people try to define most of their lives with their achievements. They've done this or that, made this or that much money, acquired this many things, saw these monuments. When we look back on our lives, we recall special moments in our life by when we achieved certain targets – graduation, marriage, acquisition, etc.

But what happens when we haven't achieved so many things, or our progression seems to taper off. You've got the job, had plenty of memorable vacations, saved up so much money. You're only in your early thirties – certainly there is more to be done?

Your friends have taken it to the next level – they've found ways to continue achieving things, through their work lives, family lives, hobbies, all the meanwhile making you feel like you have been stagnating. Your self esteem wavers and every day you start doing something dangerous – reflecting on your life and evaluating yourself based on your achievements.

You all know what a bucket list it, and maybe you have one as well. A big list of things we need to do, we need to achieve, to make us feel like we've had a successful life. For many of us, our hypothetical bucket list defines us. We make bold decisions in order to reach our milestones and sometimes put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it.

Therein lies the problem. All this pressure we put on ourselves, this pressure we create in order for us to live up to the expectations we give to ourselves. We don't need it. We don't need to do it.

We base our worth and merit on how many milestones we've reached when we know at the heart of it that we don't have to. That it is a consequence of overexcitement. We define our self worth after years of chasing achievements and accomplishments, despite how unhealthy it is, when, at the truth of it, we don't need to do anything like that to value ourselves.

We only need what we have inside. Instead of evaluating your life based on corporate achievements and photographic evidence, focus instead on finding your value through your best characteristics.

Find your value within

Your value is much deeper than your accomplishments in life. Your value comes from within. Instead of thinking about pen and paper, refocus your eye to inside you. Find instead how you should portray value, but how others see value in you. Focus on your charismatic personality, your sense of humour, your friends, your loved ones. See what they see inside of you. Write down your best qualities and realize that your value in life is not dependent on your mantelpiece but on the good of your heart and soul.

What is success?

If you can find the beauty within you, then you can start to redefine your idea of what success really is. You can see all your friends enjoying their successes through social media, but look deeper than the surface and you will see that it's not all about the cars and money.

The ultimate success is to simply, have a happy life. Be able to do what you love to do everyday, be humble, and be proud of it. Endorsing your inner strengths, your personal qualities, and being able to live each day with a smile is the most successful thing a person could do. Everything else is just decoration.

Don't force yourself to spend your life chasing accomplishments. Be happy with what you have inside and feel the accomplishment that simply being a happy and balanced person brings. It will be your greatest success to date.

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.