Numbers come and go, but feelings are forever — especially when those feelings involve how you feel about yourself.
Sometimes comparisons can be useful… but where your sense of satisfaction and fulfillment are concerned, they’re definitely not.
Just focus on you. Then look for these signs that show you’re more successful than you might think — and, in all likelihood, that you’re happier than you think, too.
1. “Do I have close friends?”
Close friendship are increasingly rare; one study found that the number of friends respondents felt they could discuss important matters with has dropped from an average of 2.94 to 2.08 in the last 20 years.
If you have more than two or three close friends, be glad, not only for the social connection but also because the positive effect of relationships on your life span is double what you get from exercising and just as powerful as quitting smoking.
And where professional relationships are concerned…
2. “Can I choose the people around me?”
Some people have employees who drive them nuts. Some people have customers who are obnoxious. Some people have casual acquaintances who are selfish, all-about-me jerks.
Guess what: They chose those people. Those people are in their professional or personal lives because they let them remain.
Successful people attract successful people. Hardworking people attract hardworking people. Kind people associate with kind people. Great employees want to work for great bosses.
If the people around you are the people you want to be around you… you’re successful.
And if they’re not, it’s time to start making some changes.
3. “Do I have enough money to make positive choices?”
Many people live paycheck to paycheck. Worse, many have to decide between necessities. (I can remember having to choose between filling a prescription for an antibiotic and putting gas in my car.)
If you make enough money, and don’t spend so much money, that you can make positive choices about what to do with some of it — whether it’s investing, or taking a vacation, or taking classes… anything you want to do instead of have to do — then you’re successful, both because you’ve escaped the paycheck-to-paycheck grind and because you can leverage that extra money to become even more successful.
4. “Do I see failure as just training?”
Failure sucks, but failure is also the best way to learn and grow. There will always be trials, challenges, and obstacles — but perseverance always wins in the end.
Every successful person has failed, numerous times. (Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. That’s why they’re so successful now.)
If you embrace every failure — if you own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time things will turn out differently–then you’re already successful.
And in time, you’ll be even more successful, because you’ll never stop trying to be better than you are today.
5. “Am I a giver?”
We’ve all experienced this moment: We’re having a great conversation, we’re finding things in common…and then, boom: The other person plays the “I need something” card.
And everything about the interaction changes.
What once appeared friendly now feels needy, almost grasping…and, if you’re like me, you feel guilty if you can’t help. (And especially if you decide you don’t want to help.)
As my buddy Adam Grant shows, people tend to fall into rough categories: Some takers, some are matchers, and some are givers.
And it should come as no surprise that people who feel successful tend to not be takers. They accept help if offered, but they don’t feel the need to ask. In fact, they focus on what they can do for other people.