The Deception of Success: Why You Should Measure Your Life From Within

The mid-life crisis: A time people re-evaluate their life, wallow in regrets, and buy a sweet red sports car that they definitely cannot afford to justify wasting so much time in the past.

It’s so easy to make it halfway through your life without realizing you’re not where you wanted to be. You begin to realize all the things you wish you did that you just never got around to doing. Maybe you wish you travelled more. Maybe you wish you settled down, got married, and had kids instead of working 18 hours a day at a job that never rewarded you as much as you hoped. Maybe you wish you were richer. Whatever your regret is, everyone has one. However, it’s not too late to change that.

A word of advice: Your life is not the problem. Society is the problem.

Our society defines success by the number of Instagram likes, the quantity of degrees, and the amount of 0’s at the end of a person’s paycheck. But is success really just a number? Isn’t it so much more?

A mother of two, who stayed at home to raise her kids, might not sound incredibly successful to society’s standards, in comparison to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. After all, if we measure success by job satisfaction, celebrity status, and money, a stay-at-home would likely fail altogether. However, if you look at the two lives, it becomes much harder to determine who is happier. The stay-at-home mom could have one of the best marriages imaginable, two loving kids, and a huge impact on her local community. Conversely, the CEO might be going through marital problems, have an estranged relationship with his parents and children, and feel generally miserable and stressed.

We as humans inevitably fall into the comparison trap. However, success is so much more than the surface level things we compare ourselves on.

Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Fame and fortune are not guaranteed to give happiness or self-fulfillment, and often times they don’t. It’s so misleading to watch the lives of celebrities, filled with picture perfect Instagram ‘candids’ and flashy $1000 dresses. While they may have outer success, it is inner success that truly counts.

The first month during my study abroad in Spain, I learned to discern the deception of ‘outer success.’ Each day I would post a new photo from my new ‘fairy-tale life.’ All my friends would like my photos and comment things such as “looks incredible! So jealous!! XOXO” and I would sit there, alone in my strange and foreign room, wanting to cry. Even though my life seemed so together and perfect, I was struggling deeply with loneliness and incredible culture shock. While I may have had ‘outer success,’ I realized outer success is nothing without first having inner peace and joy.

The deception of outward success grows larger every day as social media takes a greater hold on our society. If you truly want to find success, you need to stop looking at outward success. Success does not come from the outside, but from within. Though a life of fame and fortune may seem enchanting, I guarantee you’re better off with a happier life of inner success than a life with all the jewels in the world.

How do you find inward success? Leave comments in the section below!