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Defining Success: The Accomplishment of an Aim or Purpose

Defining Success
By Brittany Zimber

suc·cess

/səkˈses/

the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
Similar: favorable outcome, successfulness, favorable result, successful outcome, positive result, victory, triumph
Opposite: failure
the attainment of popularity or profit.
a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity

How do you define Success?

Here’s my thing. Everyone defines Success differently. Yet, we all judge each other on their successes… What I may determine to be successful, may be ridiculous to you. What you may determine to be successful may not be even possible for me.

Many times I come back to what “Society” thinks. Society in my eyes and living where I live I believe defines success as: a house, say 2 kids, a really good job, married to the opposite sex, having a garage with two cars in it, being a good parent and bringing your kids to every after school activity, having a dog and a cat, a college degree, maybe a summer home or a vacation place you go every year… You get the point.

But isn’t the beauty of life that everyone is different? Also, we all come from different places. We all grew up differently. We all have different likes and dislikes. So why is what makes you “successful”, only what YOU believe to be successful.

This legit confuses me so much.

What I consider successful is different.

Since I was a child I wanted to be a professional dancer. That is what I considered successful when I was a child. I just thought the marriage and kids came with that. Didn’t even think about how different people’s lives actually were.

I spent years and years of training. I didn’t just go to a college for a week or 4 years or 8 years. From the time I was 6 years old I went to a dance studio almost every night. My parents put in hundreds of thousands of dollars. I missed out on high school basketball games because I had to practice my 11 competition pieces that night. As a child, I would get home at 10:30 at night, finish up my homework, go to sleep, and do it again the next day. While all my friends would get home from school, do their homework, play outside and go to bed around 8:00pm. On some weekends, while you were going to your best friend’s birthday party, I was at a dance competition. While you were getting the “cool” clothes for the new school year, I was getting new leotards and tights. My parents, my brother and sister. It affected them as well. They were in charge of bringing me to dance. They had to come to dance competitions.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a great childhood. Dancing gave me friends for life. My parents did whatever they could to give us a good life.

But, that is my success. My success is this;

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left. And I could say, “I used everything you gave me.” “- Unknown

I am still learning this.

What is your Success? What do you believe Success is determined by?

E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e i-s d-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t.

Isn’t that the beauty of it all?

The child that doesn’t have enough food or water. I can imagine that their success would be when they have a belly full of food. They probably would find enough water that they feel hydrated pretty damn successful as well.

The homeless man. His success would be having a warm place to stay on a cold night. Or some good Samaritan bringing him a blanket, a warm hat and winter gloves. I literally watched this happen a week ago. It was the first night that was below freezing. Sitting in this car that has been heated for hours, with a couple of my friends, while we were about to go into a warm restaurant to eat a full meal and have a few drinks. Ha, puts it into perspective doesn’t it. This man sat on the side of the street with a blanket completely covering him. One family looked over giving dirty looks and walking even more quickly when they realized what was under that blanket. Makes you shake your head right? Then these two angels came over with a backpack. They bent down to him, to get closer to him, to get eye to eye with this man. As he is also human. Which a lot of you tend to forget. We watched as the man’s face lit up while these two women were telling him what they had packed in this bag for him. There was a hat, winter gloves, water, and another blanket, from what we could see. I have literally never seen one human be so happy to put on a pair of winter gloves in my life. That was his success.

Side Note: I only ate half of my meal so I saved the other half and asked for more Nachos to bring out to this man… (yes I was eating Mexican, don’t act like you are shocked. You aren’t) When we brought the food outside to give to the man, he was no longer there. I am hoping with all of the restaurants in this area he was able to sit inside for a while to keep warm.

The woman who just gave birth. Her success is being able to get into the shower. Or sleep through the night.

For the person or animal with epilepsy. Their success is to go a day, weeks, months, years without having a seizure. Their family would call this a success as well. Every day that there is no seizure is successful, and relieving.

The high school student. Getting into that college would be successful for them. Acing their SATS. Getting through a week of school without a break down. Winning the football game.

The child who gets bullied on the school bus. The boy who struggles with his sexuality. The girl who gets tormented by mean girls because she isn’t “enough.” Their successes may just be getting through the day without being attacked.

The person who has depression. Has anxiety. Has panic attacks. They might find it successful to just get out of bed that day.

The celebrity who just wants to go through one day without getting photographed by the paparazzi outside of their home. Who wants to be able to go through a breakup quietly. You may find them to be successful, but then again, they might find success in going to the grocery store without getting noticed.

The older woman you see working at the Grocery Store or Department Store. This is her second job. Their success is that they are raising their kids on their own. Or that they are paying for their home on their own. Or doing everything to make sure their kids get the life you believe they deserve. Success.

The couple who is incredibly unhappy. Their success might be a divorce. While someone who is single may find getting married to be successful.

Recently, I thought being successful was having a 9-5 job, getting married, having a huge home with a white picket fence, 4 kids, 27 dogs and cats, you get my point. But I am realizing that doesn’t need to be MY success story.

My success story is being able to have a professional dance career for over a decade. My success story is traveling the world. My success is being able to spend quality time with my family when I am actually home because I can. I see being able to write how I am feeling and have other people say I am inspirational, pretty darn cool. And, pretty darn successful. Teaching humans to love to dance and use their bodies to tell a story is successful. Brady, my 85 lb incredible dog, eating his food everyday without me sitting next to him. That’s definitely a success!

Not eating Mexican food every night.. Maybe a success.. Maybe not.. Have yet to decide.

To be successful. Everyone goes through something different. You only see the end product.

You see the man getting the gloves and hat. You don’t see who he was before. You don’t see what his life was like before. You don’t see how many days he sat there freezing before someone brought him a blanket. The mother getting to take a shower. You don’t see how many days she didn’t shower or didn’t sleep. You don’t see the tears running down her face from having no energy or time. The person that finally got out of bed today. You didn’t see the hours they spent crying. You don’t see inside their head. You don’t see the anxiety and fear they have over every situation. You don’t see shaking or not being able to breathe when they lose comfort over a situation. The couple who is finally getting a divorce. You don’t see the years of torment they went through with each other. The countless fights they had in front of their kids. The woman who you see working at Macy’s. You don’t see her driving 4 hours to and from her other job to go to her second job. You don’t see the bags under her eyes and the heaviness in her heart.

The problem is, you see what you want to see. You don’t actually know though. You just don’t. You judge quickly.

Lastly, the Dancer who is still dancing professionally and traveling the world. You don’t see the hours of hard work they spent in a dance studio. They had to work throughout their entire childhood just to get close enough to make it professionally. Which is not where it ends. You don’t see the shows they again spend hours upon hours to put up. You don’t see the months they spend away from home. The Thanksgivings they watch their entire family together, while they are thousands of miles away. You don’t see the competition. The gyms hours. The weigh ins. The getting told to lose weight. You don’t see the injuries. The heartbreaks. The sleepless nights. The times in between jobs. The auditions. The audiences that don’t clap for you. All of this is only part of what we go through to do what we love. To be successful in our own way.

The definition of Success is “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.”

The accomplishment.. of an aim.. or purpose.. Let that sink in.

So why are we always deciding if other people are successful? I mean, my aim or purpose is most likely different than the person sitting next to me. Success shouldn’t be a competition. It can’t be. The definition literally says it right there. It doesn’t say “Being a millionaire” or, “Having a house and 4 kids” or “Traveling the world”. It should just say “Being healthy and happy”. I would say that we could probably all agree on that.

So let’s stop judging other people’s successes.

One more time.

The human race is all different. That is what makes it beautiful. If everyone was like me or you, it would be pretty boring.

Start celebrating Success. Remember you don’t know what it took anyone to get there. And you don’t know what they define as Success.

Appreciate every accomplishment. No matter how small or big they may be.


Success.

Also on TheatreArtLife:

Dancing By Numbers: Dancer Survival On A Cruise Ship

A Dancers Life For Me: Part 1

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