Forget The Joneses – Define Your Own Success

In this week’s episode, we look at success and what it looks like for us as individuals. Our vision of success can be influenced by culture, society, the past or perceived expectations. Michael Hyatt quotes “There is no point keeping up with the Joneses if they are going someplace you don’t want to go.” Just in case you have never heard of the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses” it’s about striving to match one’s neighbours in spending and social standing. The phrase originated in a comic strip of the same name.

What is your ideal image of success? Is it a house on a hill, a happy marriage, health, wealth, travelling the world, raising a family, financial independence, nice clothes, thriving relationships, peace, a good-paying job, happiness, a luxury car? All of the above? I appreciate all that I just mentioned, but the question is what would it cost me to get it and am I happy with the trade off?

The purpose of this episode is to simply say that we are constantly trading one thing for another and usually it’s our time, a resource that we can never get back. The key is to be mindful about what we actually want and what is it going to cost to get it. Here is an example: if my definition of success is a great career and I am willing to get it at all costs. I may be inclined to overwork, set no boundaries and neglect my wellbeing. When we say yes to one thing, we are potentially saying no to another. Boundaries are key here as without realising I could be saying no to investing into my relationships, sleep, exercise, mental health and without these I am unable to fulfil my original definition of success in the long term. We all have 24hrs in a day, no more and no less. If we are going to keep up with the Joneses what is going to cost us?  

We see aspects of others that is in part it’s not the whole picture which is expected because we can’t be up close and personal with everyone and even those, we rub shoulders with might choose to conceal those parts.  When we see the lives of others through the lens of perfection, we can become under an illusion that serves no one because life can be wonderful, messy and unpredictable. An example of this might be Social Media and don’t get me wrong, and I am all for it; however, at times what is shown is calculated and filtered rather than up close and personal and raw. We must not forget this! Psychology today made a great point of bringing the Joneses down to a human level. We can remind ourselves that:

  • Nobody is perfect. Perfection is elusive and an illusion.
  • Everybody, even the Joneses, has struggles, fears, and insecurities.
  • Pictures on social media and real-life encounters provide only a filtered snapshot of a life.

While we have addressed expectations and perceptions when it comes to defining success for your life, you are the best person to do that! So here are some ideas that you might consider:

  • Define what and who’s most important to you. If you don’t define it can’t be protected. This can help with what you say yes and no to.
  • Be intentional about defining what success looks like for you. Considering what it will take to achieve it, what will it cost you, and how will you know once you are successful?
  • Look for any ideals you have taken on as your own that are merely unrealistic or do not serve you and what is most important to you.
  • Find fulfilment in all that you do have and practice gratitude. From that place, work towards your goals. Don’t wait to be happy or for the one day when.

On a finishing note, wish the Joneses well and set your gaze on what is important to you and your growth. Own your decisions and take responsibility for creating a successful life on your terms and not others. Redefine success on your terms. I wish you all the very best and success in life. Until next time