Stop Measuring Your Success With Money
It is no myth that the majority of people are obsessed with money- our daily discourse is filled with how to gain more, and the struggle when it runs out. This has lead to a correlation between success and earning money.
We have created an unhealthy ideology that states that for your work to be of any worth, it has to be financially lucrative. When our sole focus is on the money that our work can earn, we stop celebrating other notifiers of success, such as praise from others, or simply being proud that you have created something great.
Starting a new business may not always bring in a lot of money immediately and it can often take time to become financially stable from a new venture. However, you are successful in the fact that you have turned an idea, or a dream into a very real opportunity. You have faced obstacles and practised skills in order to achieve the status as a business owner.
Medium and the internet, in general, is full of articles titled something like ‘how I make $500 in one month by writing’. These articles perpetuate the idea that a successful venture is simply one that has made a lot of money. Whilst money is an important part of everyone’s lives and something we need to survive, it shouldn't be the only measure of one’s self-worth. Instead, a more valuable article would teach ‘how to write an article that is valuable to others.’ Writing an article that truly benefits others, will become successful, and will potentially earn a good profit, however, we are taking the focus away from the earning potential and focusing on the quality of the writing and how it is valuable to its readers.
Recently I had an article curated by Medium for the first time, and my first thought was how this gave it the ability to earn more money than my other articles. I had to stop myself, and realise that curation did not necessarily guarantee a high income, yet it definitely signifies that my writing was of high quality, which I should be proud of.
There are many ways to earn money, that does not necessarily require quality effort or a long and laborious endeavour. Is a writer that earns $1000 dollars from a viral article on the wardrobe failures of actors any more successful than an amateur writer who earns no money but gains a compliment from a prolific author? By society’s standards, we would grant the viral writer the crown of success, yet that $1000 they earnt is short-lived and will soon run out. The elation that the amateur writer gained from the recognition of an author that they admire will stay with them for life.
Where success arrives, the money will often follow, yet by reaching for wealth to prove that you are successful, you are dismissing your other achievements along the way. Steve Jobs once said that “if you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” Most financially beneficial successes, took many other small achievements along the way, which we overlook, as we are purely focussed on the end goal of money. We then begin to undervalue ourselves when we don't achieve wealth.
When you start to think that you or your venture has failed, you will lack the motivation or drive to continue pushing for success. This is how most entrepreneurs falter because they give in to the idea that they have failed and do not make an effort to overturn this. Not only will this affect your venture, but it will have a detrimental effect on your mental well being.
By changing your goal to non-financial achievements, you will value yourself much more. Focussing on the success of overcoming boundaries, and feeling proud of your personal growth, will stop you from aligning a lack of wealth with failure. Consequently, with this newfound self-worth and confidence, you will find yourself thriving.
Oprah Winfrey said that “you know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.” Do something because it makes you proud, and see wealth as a bonus.
It may seem like a statement of privilege to tell someone to not think about earning money when so many require it to live. This is not what I am saying, but recognizing that success comes in many forms, will allow us to grow in confidence and pride. People lack the motivation to continue when they do not feel they are achieving anything. By recognizing your small successes, you will have the motivation and confidence to rise even further, and then the financial reward will come.
By changing your mindset, you will find yourself feeling happier, as this is often hindered by the constant desire for money. Be proud of every minor success, and you will find yourself growing in ways you never thought you could.