How do you measure success? | INFJ Forum

How do you measure success?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by jimtaylor, Oct 22, 2010.

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  1. jimtaylor

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    I hate to post this so quickly following my other thread but I think they are ultimately tied together. What is you definition of success? What makes you feel or think that you have achieved something? Is it praise from others, money earned, social status, simply being able to do something, etc..?

    For me my idea of what success is has changed drastically over the years. When I was younger, it was more so praise from others and social status. I didn't want to be the center of attention but I wanted to be recognized for my accomplishments. I wanted to be someone who was respected, looked up too, sought for advice and of course wealth would never hurt. Things have changed though as I start to enter my adult years and I have experienced a few traumatic events in my life.

    Death has a weird way of making things seem very shallow and that is basically how my perception has changed when it comes to being recognized. Before I wanted to be recognized just so I could essentially feel better than everybody else, now I find myself feeling awkward and uncomfortable when people praise me. It just doesn't feel right because so many other people have accomplished what I have and greater, yet not enough praise is given to them. Also what I have done is minor compared to what I hope to accomplish yet positive reinforcement is good now and again but I feel too much of it can be debilitating.

    Honestly, sometimes I feel like instead of wasting our time always praising each other about minor accomplishments, we should apply it to a better use like further advancing ourselves. So much time and money is spent in almost all settings praising people for minor accomplishments when instead it could be used to actually promote something useful like further production. Why must people receive a pat on the back for every little thing they do? Can they not find enough motivation in themselves to accomplish something because in the bigger picture by doing so it helps them and everybody else? Is everybody honestly so selfish that they cannot do something if it does not have an immediate benefit to them? It honestly makes no sense to me that people cannot see past the immediate gratitude and see that if we did not waste so much time, we could accomplish so much more. Of course there has to be balance and be praise for some of the bigger accomplishments but the over excessive praise is useless.

    Before I rant anymore, I am going to get to my main point. For me, my idea of what success will be in the long term is; dying having made things better for the world as whole, or for my family, or for my close personal relationships, than how it was when I was born. How I achieve this, is another story entirely but I do have some ideas. Not all of them will work but part of life is trying and failing and trying again.
     
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  2. Nixie

    Nixie Resurrected

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    What a great, great post jimtaylor!!! (do you sense the attempt at humor? do ya?)

    No matter what, I think success is measured by others more than ourselves. I have no true yardstick about my own accomplishments. The only thing I really know is if I found it hard or difficult but that doesn't tell me if I am a successful person or not. In a heirarchial world, it means being at the top of the pyramid. In a circular world it means being a functional part of the whole. The big question you have to decide is what kind of success you value more than if you want to be successful or not.
     
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  3. KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    How I feel in this moment, particularly about myself.

    I too focus much on how my life looks in light of death. But really there's no single clear measure, and I think part of who we are is how we define what is important.
     
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  4. Bird

    Bird Happy Go Lucky

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    On how many four leaf clovers you find in your life time.


    I am not a very successful person, unfortunately.
    However I'm only twenty so I think there's time.
     
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  5. Gaze

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    Depends on what type of success. The measure for personal success is not the same as professional success. I am professionally successful if i work hard to achieve the goals of the company who's hired me. This type of success is based on how much you can handle and how well you handle it, and how far you can push yourself to satisfy expectations/requirements, and the personal satisfaction of the customer/client. But i don't judge personal success by those standards. And I don't care for personal recognition of my abilities. I'm not interested in impressing anyone; i am only interested in being competent.

    So personally, success is determined by whether or not i achieve the goals i set for myself - those are the ones which give me a sense of peace in my life. I measure personal success as the ability to accomplish something significant which allows me to feel as if i've personally achieved something worthwhile and contributed in some way positively and significantly to the development of someone else. But it's based on my attempts or efforts, not someone else's perception or judgment. I can work hard and achieve quite a bit, but someone else may not see it and argue that i've not done anything. This is why i don't judge my personal success by anyone else. And i don't care to be a social success, just comfortable enough to get along with everyone.
     
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    #5 Gaze, Oct 22, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
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  6. Matariki

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    My definition of success is succeeding in what you love doing and taking it to a whole new level by the best you can be. Pushing yourself just that little bit further every time counts as success. Success to me doesn't come through money or social status (like people who win the lotto or gain inheritance). It comes through hard work and dedication and sticking to what you know and love doing. To feel that I have achieved something comes through the praise of others and simply being able to do it.

    I succeed every time I jump on my motorcycle and go down to Boxing and Muay Thai. I succeed in overcoming my natural instincts every time I step into the ring and face a bigger and better opponent. I make sure that I give it my all, every round, learning from the mistakes and perfecting my technique as I go. I feel as I have succeed after I have given my opponent a good round, even If I emerge as the loser. You can't win every time, and if you think you can, then you truly are in your own personal hell that's more than eager to backfire on you. Success does not equal winning.
     
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    #6 Matariki, Oct 23, 2010
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  7. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    If I can do what I intended to do within a reasonable amount of time and without compromising on what I feel is important, then that's success. If somebody praises me for it, all the better.

    I think long term success is purely abstract, and would relate to your degree of liberation from the disturbing elements of anger, sorrow and fear.
     
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  8. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Regular Poster

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    Sadly, I've come to equate income with my measure of success. This has twisted my view of life. Others have told me that I have had a successful life, but because I'm not rich, I have problems believing it. I need to find a different measuring stick, but old habits die hard.
     
  9. KazeCraven

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    That is tough to change. I guess the first question, though, is would you really feel successful if you were making a lot of money? For me, if I truly felt that way, I would feel justified in leaving it that way, but usually it's the case that when I finally do attain what I thought I wanted it's just emptiness.
     
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  10. Nighthawk

    Nighthawk Regular Poster

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    Yes, mostly emptiness with each pay raise. I'm glad to be able to afford things, but there is little satisfaction in the dollar amount ... and life quickly fills to consume it. I've translated a couple of books and written some articles for journals ... and I get more satisfaction from seeing my name in print. I also get satisfaction from seeing my software projects in use on the internet. It's a shame that income is stuck in my mind as the measuring stick. I think that might be endemic to the American male.
     
  11. OP
    jimtaylor

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    Old habits do die hard, as posted earlier. A large portion of people point to income as a level of success. Talk to any high school student and what they want is wealth. Very few are able to perceive anything else as success. It is something that is taught to us young in movies, commercials, etc.. As a child you see all those movies and shows with the rich people being very happy, being able to buy all they want and having all the cool toys. It becomes part of us and our desire. It is indeed an empty feeling. The only reason I realized that earlier is the before mentioned events. Death of close loved ones made me realize wealth is something I could live without and was something I would not measure myself too.

    Having your name in print is something I believe to be a strong accomplishment, no matter how minor. Personally that is something I desire and something I do want to accomplish. I am working to get my first novel published now and have entered multiple writing competitions in that pursuit. People seeing things I created and enjoying it or learning something from it. I would feel very fulfilled with something like that. I feel like having your name on paper is like having it imprinted in history. Your name is not just by known those who you know, it's known to others. It also is some kind of contribution to society, it's not just money which is essentially value less beyond what society deems it. It contributes nothing in itself. Plenty of wealthy people earned their money through criminal acts, unethical acts, and plenty of stupid and lucky people have made a lot of money. I really don't think it is a good way to measure someone because of this, wealth is not anything that signifies greatness in my mind.

    I am not envious of people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, etc.. because of their wealth but because they have created something that has changed the world in someway. I like to think mostly for the better. Wealth is just a bonus that comes with it in my mind.
     
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  12. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

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    I think of success as an inner sense of satisfaction or completeness.....being able to harness our internal resources and giftedness to bring about something good and nurturing that uplifts the world we live in rather than diminish. To be fully alive...that is success.
     
  13. Honey

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    I also equate income with success. I feel no shame about this and sometimes I wonder if the selfish rich aren't involved in a conspiracy to subtly convince us that income will not make us happier or more content or feel more successful.

    When I was younger, I allowed others to define success for me to some extent and it had nothing to do with income; then it dawned on me a few years ago that without a certain amount of money/income I find it hard to be happy and content or see myself as successful. I have come to the conclusion that success for me is a combinations of the 'allys'...ie spritually, emotionally, mentally, romantically, academically and yes financially.
     
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  14. Phoenix Down

    Phoenix Down Permanent Fixture

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    I measure sucess in terms realistic expectation and outcome.
     
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  15. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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    This is a difficult question to answer. Naturally, I measure my success in relation to my hopes/goals and also in relation to my efforts. I also measure my success against an inner vision or sense of who I'd like to be... I like to think this is an internal guidance system I can rely on (as opposed to deeply internalized expectations).

    Ultimately, I guess I look to my needs and being successful means I am able to meet them. Since one of my needs it to become self-actualized and a powerful individual, I trust that I can rely on this as a driving force.

    As for the specifics of what makes me feel successful - they're as diverse and numerous as my goals and the situations I encounter on a day-to-day basis, so I'll spare you the novel.

    You know, I agree with this. I don't see anything wrong about using income as a means of gauging success if, for example, your intent has been to achieve a high-income level or to achieve a position that will immediately result in a high-income level. And why shouldn't we use that as a measure of our success if it makes sense for us? I think money has such a bad rep in this case because some people use it in extremely shallow ways--but the two are not always related. Nor is wealth, imo, an indicator of a successful person - simply that a person is successful in a certain life domain. In addition, I also believe that a lack of income isn't necessarily an indication of a lack of success.
     
    #15 Soulful, Oct 23, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  16. fanatiic

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    @jimtaylor, a lot of my handwritten journal entries sound exactly like ^that :p

    i have jumped around from defining success with external measures (external validation such as praise, awards, etc), to something that comes from within. right now i have just realized i have started going back to 'defining success with external measures', so am taking some steps to go back to figuring out what it is that I WANT for my own life.

    ultimately success to me is related to the quality of the work that i do. which is how i "make a difference" to the world, etc. i have known several people who can say and state that one of their goals is "making a difference," but saying/knowing something is different from doing something (they have to follow more conventional work paths out of "obligation," etc).

    i agree with what you said about death changing one's perspective. i always have this feeling that i'm going to die tomorrow (not in a morbid way, just in a matter-of-fact way). this drives me to "make the most of my time" on a daily basis.

    p.s. for me, the success has to be on a big scale. i do not know why. astrologically, i am a virgo sixth house, mars capricorn tenth house, and an aries rising. all of my planets are in the Southern hemisphere / the upper half of the astrological chart. my work to me = my life.
     
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    #16 fanatiic, Oct 25, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  17. OP
    jimtaylor

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    The flip-flopping is something I have had to deal with as well. I believe it is almost impossible to ignore all outside influences as we do have to acknowledge some of those around us. Our families, friends, loved ones, are all going to have some kind of impact on our lives at some point. So naturally at times we will have to change to fulfilling a short term more practical goal versus always shooting for our long term one.

    I agree with the quality thing as well. Quality versus quantity, I think quality always wins out. Relating it to something else, I would rather have a high quality glass of wine versus a hundred glasses of cheap wine. Agreed I have heard many of the self-richeous type claim their goal is to change the world. Their ideas though of doing this are noble and for a good cause but really have little effect on things. I have a few friends like this who now and again go clean up a park or plant trees. It is indeed a noble cause and if more took it up and worked towards doing little things like this then we would see a change but such things at a minor scale will do little. My idea is more so to try to encourage people mentally. Change happens a lot quicker when people believe it is what they want and that is to their advantage to change. So yes I do not go to the soup kitchen every weekend to help out but in a recent event, I was able to help raise $45,000 towards cancer research. I personally believe my way is a little more effective but I will not fault someone who tries to make a change. It takes real heart to stand up for what you believe in.
     
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  18. IndigoSensor

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    I determine success for myself based on the internal standards I have set as my benchmarks that I want to reach, and how far beyond them I go. They are usually derived by external things though.
     
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  19. #@&5&49

    #@&5&49 Well-known member

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    :bump:

    I had to bump this thread cause I'm in the middle of redefining my perceptions of success and came across this thread. I like the following definitions of success.

    I think you're right, it is abstract and when you let go of the emotional content (or emotional debris, whichever you prefer) it loses a lot of it's influence.

    I am really beginning to adopt this position.

    This is a great statement. Basically, the perspective a person uses determines how they feel about success.

    ___

    I'm leaning towards the belief that the only person that can REALLY define success is oneself. However, I'm also realizing that my perceptions of success were defined by a combination of my own goals and expectations combined with real and perceived family, society, and peer expectations.

    Damn, another change, just when I thought I had it all figured out :mmph:

    Always learning, always growing. I think that's definitely part of my perception of success, at least for me :becky:
     
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  20. Cornerstone

    Cornerstone Well-known member

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    With a success-o-meter.

    And how far along I have come in inventing the success-o-meter.
     
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