Offices in Garden City, Roslyn Heights, and Rockville Centre
(516) 732-0273
Offices in Garden City, Roslyn Heights, and Rockville Centre
info@lipsychologist.com

Are Your Measures of Success Arbitrary?

by Jul 24, 2023Depression

It’s healthy to have goals in life. We benefit when we seek out things that we can do that will make us feel successful personally, professionally, or otherwise. But we can also fall into a trap where our measures of success that we use – for example, a specific $$ value in our savings accounts, or a specific life goal (for example, buying a 4 bedroom house) becomes the baseline that we use to measure success.

What we often find when speaking with our clients is that the measures of success they are using are, in many ways, arbitrary, and not directly connected to a specific need.

What Makes These Markers Arbitrary?

People will sometimes say to themselves, “I will only feel successful if I achieve a certain goal or make a certain amount of money by a particular age.” While it is good to have some type of goal, the age and dollar value likely have no meaning. If you say “I want to buy a home before 40” and you cannot – or choose not – to buy a home because the market is too expensive, did you truly “fail” or are you actually making a smarter financial decision by not buying a home?

Or if you buy a home at 41 instead, is that difference of 1 year truly meaningful?

Similarly, the goals you set for yourself are often also arbitrary. Many times these goals are arbitrary or external ideas of what success and happiness mean, and are actually disconnected with what will truly make you happy. Using the home buying example, would “buying a home” mean that you have a happier marriage? Or that you are more satisfied with work? Will it make you smile every day?

Many times, the answer to those questions is no. We feel this pressure to achieve specific goals in specific time periods, but those goals are not or may not be related to what will make us happy. They’re just this idea that we have for ourselves, or something that has been engrained in us at an early age by others as to what successful really means.

Guidance vs. Fixed Ideas of Happiness

Rather than create arbitrary measures of success, we should try our best to experience life in such a way that we don’t have these fixed ideas of happiness, but rather allow our experiences and life to determine what it is we need to feel successful and satisfied. Rather than see this as something that is predetermined or that we have to achieve, we can have goals for ourselves, but also understand that those goals are not necessarily tied to happiness or success. They’re just goals.

And if your personal circumstances change where a different goal arises or something else might make you happy, then that’s what will make you happy, and the goals you originally created no longer matter. Life doesn’t “get in the way.” Life is filled with changes, and your goals and happiness are to adapt with them.

Contact Long Island Psychology Today to Get Started

Long Island Psychology specializes in providing mental health treatments to adults of all ages that need help overcoming their mental health struggles. We are able to work with patients that are experiencing pain and provide appropriate mental health solutions based on your symptoms and experiences. Contact us today to get started.

Contact:

(516) 732-0273
info@lipsychologist.com

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