What the Hell is Success Anyway?

What if you’re already successful?

Everyone wants different results.

Success, for some, is being an artist who owns a mansion with ten rooms and two cars. For others, success is running a small business of their dreams and owning a small, comfortable home.

No matter what success looks like to you, there’s one common factor: everyone’s waiting for it.

“You already have The Most. And you’re already The Best.” — Lauren Graham

I’m not making a lot of money, I have about forty email list subscribers, I don’t have a thousand followers, and if you looked at my life, you would say I wasn’t successful.

However, I’d say you’re wrong.

Would my life be easier if I owned a car or made a higher income? Yes. Would it make me feel successful? Yes — but only for a while.

Eventually, the feeling would fade, I’d develop new goals, and I wouldn’t feel prosperous until I reached those new aims. It’d be a never-ending cycle.

You have two options: you can continue to chase success, or you can choose to believe you’re successful now.

I like to believe I’m successful now, despite the “evidence” showing otherwise.

Do you know what gets me excited? A vision of myself, standing with a book in my hands. The front cover of that books says Itxayana Lopez, and on top of my name, it says New York Times Bestseller.

That would definitely make me feel like a success.

The problem is it could never happen, or if it does happen, it could be thirty years from now.

It doesn’t make sense to place my worth, happiness, and feelings of success on such an arbitrary vision.

That’s why, when I sit down to write — whether it’s fiction or another piece for Medium — and I’m excited and enjoying the process, I count that as a success.

Yes, there are goals I want to reach, but the point is, I’m working toward them right now. I’m already doing what I love, and isn’t that what everyone wants?

Everyone talks about chasing your dreams, but most of us forget to acknowledge the chasing.

I don’t always feel like a success. I’m just as flawed and insecure as the rest of the humans on this planet.

Sometimes, I feel like an utter failure because I’m twenty-one, I don’t drive, and I still live with my parents.

But who’s to say that’s what defines failure?

No one can say what defines failure as much as they can’t say what defines success. You’ll get a million different answers.

If that’s the case, then why not choose to see and believe and understand that you are thriving right now?

Because if you think about it, what the hell is success anyway?

In her book, In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It, Gilmore Girls and Parenthood actress Lauren Graham talked about her acting experience in high school.

One year, her school was hosting a play with two lead roles. The truth was, she knew she would get on of those roles because the year before, she’d been cast as Dolly in Hello, Dolly! and she’d done great.

However, the day of the audition, she was so nervous because she’d put so much pressure on herself to succeed that her voice cracked.

She didn’t get the part, and she ended playing a character with a few lines.

The character didn’t even have a name. She was disappointed in herself.

The night of opening night came, and as she drove to the school, her car slid off the road. However, she ended up okay and still made it to the school.

When she arrived, a girl went up to her and told her she’d heard what had happened. She said if Lauren didn’t feel well, she could take her part because she’d memorized all of Lauren’s lines.

Lauren was tempted to cave in until she saw the look in that girl’s eyes.

Lauren didn’t have the lead, and yet, this girl was yearning for her role because it was better than what she had.

She was still a success in this girl’s eyes.

The point is: success is whatever the fuck you want it to be.

It’s the lead character, it’s the supporting character. It’s launching your first blog, it’s getting your book published. It’s finishing your homework, it’s graduating from high school. It’s writing on your living room couch, it’s writing from your own office with a view.

Success is everything you do because it all matters.

People view the grind and the hustle as stepping-stones. However, the real success lies in the work because that’s the tough part. That’s where the blood, the sweat, and the tears are shed.

When you get the award, the certificate, and all those things people consider success, they’re recognition of your hard work, of your real success.

Getting a book deal is as much of a win as you sitting down to write the goddamn book in the first place.

Don’t denounce the in-between moments. They matter just as much as everything else, if not more, because what’s life made up of if not in-between moments?

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