Due to reasons I don’t want to explain, I recently searched a stock image site with the keyword being “success”. I expected the usual images – tall mountains and people jumping and upward-pointing graphs. What I got instead actually took me by surprise – money. Piles and piles of money, money flying through the air, briefcases stacked with money, heaps of coins. What the fuck.

Having large amounts of money (on the rare occasion I had it) has never filled me with the feeling of being successful. If anything, it filled me with dread. Usually it meant one of two things: 1) I have a large expense coming up and it’d be gone soon; 2) I am now in more debt than I should be (these two often occurred at the same time). I have never been happy about having money.

Yet, I’ve had the feeling of being successful much more often, and the accompanying happiness. Yes, this is an age-old, repetitive point: money does not equal success. At least I can be sure of one thing – success isn’t always accompanied by money.

Yes, many people do measure their success by their bank account’s balance, and they work hard to achieve success. But until we reach the desired six figure account balance, who’s to say we can’t still be successful.

Opening a jar that’s shut really tight.
Your boss implementing a small idea you had.
Finishing a degree or course you started online.
Feeling at home among people you look up to.
Accomplishing a difficult new task.
Learning a new skill that will be very useful in the future.
Finally finding the perfect layout for your furniture after months of googling feng shui.

The point is, there are more measures of success than money alone. We can be successful every day, every week and every month to have a successful year. We can celebrate small successes to lead a happy life, rich with things other than money or fame or renoun and still proudly wear the badge of success.