How do you measure success?

What does it mean to be a success? Is it something you are, or something you feel? How do you measure it? What does it look like? Who decides?
 
People have been congratulating me lately on my successes. At the same time, I have been feeling like a failure. Which is true?  
 
I have been measuring success in conventional ways. I have never owned a home. I don’t have a family. I have never had much money. Does that make me a failure? Lately, I have been feeling that way, but I am reminded that there is more to measure.
 
I am often told that I influence positive changes in people’s lives. Folks tell me that my songs touch them in meaningful ways. I am a good listener. I am filled with compassion and gratitude. How can I be a failure if these things are true?
 
What is the goal in life? I think it is to make things better for others. In that way, I am on solid ground, but it sure would feel better if I could do that while feeling more secure and at home. I am working on it…
 
In the meantime, I will continue to write songs and send them out into the world. I will continue to hope that they find homes in people’s hearts. And I will continue to hold onto the vision of them buying me a charming little house some day…    
 
(As I was getting ready to post this, I happened upon a quote by Joni Mitchell. She said, “Keep a good heart. That’s the most important thing in life. It’s not how much money you make or what you can acquire. The art of it is to keep a good heart.”)
 
Are you successful?

6 comments

  • Bryan Abes

    Bryan Abes Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

    Denise, I also find myself feeling like a failure in some ways. Can't seem to write songs from scratch, still living at my parents' house, wasn't the kind of school student I wish I could've been, don't seem to be wanted in the work world. These things cause me great pain, but there are also that many ways in which I feel successful. I have a great self teaching ability which is how I learned to read Hebrew, Torah, and haftorah. I also have a really good ear for music. So ya see? Everyone has ways in which they feel like failures, and ways in which they feel successful! Wishing you the best in all you hope to achieve!

    Denise, I also find myself feeling like a failure in some ways. Can't seem to write songs from scratch, still living at my parents' house, wasn't the kind of school student I wish I could've been, don't seem to be wanted in the work world. These things cause me great pain, but there are also that many ways in which I feel successful. I have a great self teaching ability which is how I learned to read Hebrew, Torah, and haftorah. I also have a really good ear for music. So ya see? Everyone has ways in which they feel like failures, and ways in which they feel successful! Wishing you the best in all you hope to achieve!

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Thanks for sharing that Bryan. I wish you all the best in what you hope to achieve too. There is so much good in you. You have added a spark of light in my world. Count that among your successes.

    Thanks for sharing that Bryan. I wish you all the best in what you hope to achieve too. There is so much good in you. You have added a spark of light in my world. Count that among your successes.

  • P

    P Northern California

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, with your song offering of "It's Hard to Say Goodbye". I've always loved this song and even now, after all these years, it gives me chills. I also appreciate your blog post today. There is so much more to measure. ILYM.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, with your song offering of "It's Hard to Say Goodbye". I've always loved this song and even now, after all these years, it gives me chills. I also appreciate your blog post today. There is so much more to measure. ILYM.

  • harry

    harry maine

    even though i sometimes let my thoughts go, without guidance or editing, into the black hole of self-deprecation, i still know i am successful in many aspects of my life. i believe i have changed and evolved for the better... for myself and all those i encounter. When i walk out my front door each day with the honest motive of being kind, generous, loving and compassionate. i am a success for even knowing to try to do those things and behave that way. with each person, and each thought i once again have the opportunity to present those characteristics. to me that is success. i have a half dozen part time jobs, a rusty beat up car, a tired old apartment, an antiquated phone and laptop, and very few material possessions. But i also have time to be with my daughter everyday, time to give to friends and others who may just need someone to talk to to feel connected. i can give that. i have time to walk by the ocean, to sit in the sun, to play music for people and the list goes on..... when i let myself i can have a crappy day and feel crappy and unsuccessful. But when i remember to be grateful i feel successful. thank you D for reminding me of that

    even though i sometimes let my thoughts go, without guidance or editing, into the black hole of self-deprecation, i still know i am successful in many aspects of my life. i believe i have changed and evolved for the better... for myself and all those i encounter. When i walk out my front door each day with the honest motive of being kind, generous, loving and compassionate. i am a success for even knowing to try to do those things and behave that way. with each person, and each thought i once again have the opportunity to present those characteristics. to me that is success. i have a half dozen part time jobs, a rusty beat up car, a tired old apartment, an antiquated phone and laptop, and very few material possessions. But i also have time to be with my daughter everyday, time to give to friends and others who may just need someone to talk to to feel connected. i can give that. i have time to walk by the ocean, to sit in the sun, to play music for people and the list goes on..... when i let myself i can have a crappy day and feel crappy and unsuccessful. But when i remember to be grateful i feel successful. thank you D for reminding me of that

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Thanks P. I am glad the song resonates with you, and yes, there is so much more to measure. Sometimes some things weigh heavier than other things. Maslow made some good points. :-) ILYMT

    Thanks P. I am glad the song resonates with you, and yes, there is so much more to measure. Sometimes some things weigh heavier than other things. Maslow made some good points. :-) ILYMT

  • Denise Moser

    Denise Moser

    Harry, what you wrote is wise. Yes, you are indeed successful. There is a lot to be gained by behaving with good and peaceful intentions and remembering what is truly important. You remind me too...

    Harry, what you wrote is wise. Yes, you are indeed successful. There is a lot to be gained by behaving with good and peaceful intentions and remembering what is truly important. You remind me too...

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