Defining Your Own Success

When you fail to reach the standard of success, examine your definition of success.

How do you feel when your friends are dating more than you? Or when someone gets accepted into graduate school while you were under the average GRE acceptance score by five points? Or when graduation looms ahead and your résumé has been rejected by six jobs? We all have moments when it appears we don’t meet the standard of success, but what does it mean to succeed?

Photo by Gemma Evans.

Jeffry Larson addresses this topic in his article “What Do You Expect?: A Key to Personal Happiness,” as he explores different mindsets that hold us back from progress. He advises us to “take perspective with all [our] problems,” perspective that helps us maintain our enthusiasm and keep trying when at first we don’t succeed.

He shares a story of when he was about to start junior high and felt the pressure as the oldest sibling to set the academic example. His mother noticed his inhibition and told him it didn’t matter what grade he got, but how hard he tried. Her words freed him from the worries of circumstances beyond his control and allowed him enthusiastically control that which he could.

A quote that has been attributed to Winston Churchill says, “Success isn’t the absence of failure, but going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.” Though we cannot control everything, we can realize as Jeffry did, that success will come as we put things into perspective and do our best with what we can control.

Read Jeffry H. Larson’s speech, “What Do You Expect?: A Key to Personal Happiness.” 

Source: BYU Speeches

Saralee Dunster, Mormon Insights


Find more Insights

Read Lynn G. Robbins’s talk “Until Seventy Times Seven” to read more about second chances for yourself and others.

Craig Manning in his BYU Devotional address, “The Power of Your Words,” addresses the impact our own thoughts have on the measure of our success.

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