It’s not always easy for us to tell whether we’re successful, in part because different people have different ideas of what success means. We also tend to compare ourselves to other people, whether intentionally or not.
I’m at a time in my life where I’m gearing up for my mid-life crisis, and so as part of that, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking inwards and trying to figure out whether I’m happy with the life I’ve lived.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid, and I’d always told myself that by the time I hit 40, I’d be a bestselling author who was making a living from book sales alone. I’m currently in my mid-thirties and book sales make up about 10% of my income. I’m on my way, but am I a success? Maybe.
All of this is a rambling way of explaining why in today’s article, we’re going to take a look at 11 accomplishments that could mean that you’re more successful than you think. Let’s get started.
1) You’ve got a college degree (or equivalent)
The first thing I should say here is that I’m not one of those snobs who thinks that if someone doesn’t have a college degree, they can’t be a success.
With that said, having a college degree or some equivalent level of education shows a certain willingness to see things through, along with a commitment to self-development. After all, you can’t get a college degree overnight. It takes time.
Of course, not everyone is privileged enough to be able to afford a college degree, which is where those equivalent qualifications come in. You don’t have to have spent three years on campus; you just have to have taken some form of vocational training that provides an advanced qualification.
2) You’ve mastered a hobby
We all have hobbies, and you can tell a lot about a person by the hobby they have. If someone is a rapper, for example, then they’re probably quite different to someone who’s into crocheting or who spends their time volunteering at a soup kitchen.
Having a hobby is one thing, but mastering it is something else entirely. Mastering a hobby looks different depending upon what that hobby is, but you should have a pretty good idea of what it might look like for you.
Now, a hobby is a hobby, and so mastering it might not mean making money from it. But that’s not the point, at least here. Instead, it’s all about the feeling of accomplishment that you can enjoy when you get good at something you’re passionate about.
3) You got married
Not everyone wants to get married, but it’s always seemed to me to be something that appeals more and more as time goes on and we get older. Eventually, we start to think about settling down, and getting married is seen by many as being the ultimate way to do so.
For someone to get married, they need to be in a solid, long-term relationship with a partner that’s deeply committed to them. These types of relationships don’t happen by accident and they don’t just develop overnight. They take long-term investment and serious dedication.
And so while getting married might not seem like an accomplishment at first glance, it soon becomes apparent that not just anyone can get married. It’s a serious accomplishment that should be treated as such.
4) You’re on the property ladder
Buying a house isn’t easy, and it’s getting harder and harder with every day that passes. I was only able to do it because my family was kind enough to lend me some money so that I could put a deposit down.
The thing about getting on the property ladder is that it shows that you’re mature enough to save your money and to think about the future instead of living only in the here and now.
It’s so difficult to get onto the property ladder that it’s not just an accomplishment; it’s arguably the biggest accomplishment on this list.
It’s also so difficult that you shouldn’t feel bad if you haven’t accomplished this, because not everyone is able to give it a shot. If you’re lucky enough to own a property, consider yourself to be more accomplished than most.
5) You’ve had a car, a job, a home and a partner (at the same time)
This one is a modified version of a line from the documentary DiG!, which follows The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre as they try to make it in the music industry. During the documentary, someone comments that the members of the latter band have never managed to have a car, a job and a house at the same time.
To be clear, even though we just talked about getting on the property ladder, I’m not saying that you need to own that house. You just need to have somewhere to live, and you need to have a regular job, a mode of transport and a long-term partner while you’re living there.
It can be argued that every single one of these is an accomplishment, but the biggest accomplishment is being able to accomplish all of them at the same time. It’s like the difference between having an ace in a game of poker and having a full house.
6) You’ve got three months’ expenses in your savings
They say that the majority of people are only one paycheck away from running out of money, and there have certainly been times where I’ve found myself in that position. It’s not a nice place to be, especially when you’re self-employed and you don’t have an employer to give you sick pay if you fall ill.
That’s why I went out of my way to build up my savings so that I had three months’ worth of expenses. That means that if I ever have a problem or some unexpected expense comes up, I don’t have to take out a loan or delve into my overdraft.
This is another one that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to enjoy, and if you can check this off as an accomplishment then it probably means that you’re successful at work and that you have decent money management skills.
If you can tick this off while also getting on the property ladder, give yourself a metaphorical gold star.
7) Someone’s told you that they’re jealous of you
I get this one quite often, and it still makes me feel weird every time someone says it. We all have a tendency to think of our lives as just being normal, but that’s because we’re so used to them that we can’t see the wood for the trees, as the saying goes.
If someone tells you that they’re jealous of you, it generally means that you’ve accomplished something that they wish they could accomplish themselves. This is still the case even when they’re jealous of your physical possessions, because the chances are that you had to work hard to achieve them.
Jealousy isn’t the prettiest of emotions and it’s rarely thought of in a positive light. This is one of the few cases I can think of when we can look at jealousy as being a positive thing, because it shows us that we’ve accomplished so much that someone else wishes they were us.
8) Someone’s asked you for an interview
I might be a little biased with this one, because as a journalist, writer and radio host, I’ve interviewed literally hundreds (if not thousands) of people throughout the years. I’ve talked to people from all walks of life and who are known for all sorts of things, and they all have one thing in common: they love being asked for an interview.
Not everyone that I ask says yes, and if you’re not the kind of person who enjoys speaking to strangers then interviews might not be for you. Regardless, the general idea remains the same.
The idea is that if someone thinks you’re worth asking for an interview, it’s probably a good sign that you’re a success, because if you weren’t then they wouldn’t be asking you. It’s a simple way of measuring your success, but I find that it’s also a powerful one.
9) You have a good credit rating
I’m going to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure how credit ratings work. I know a few different things that can impact them, but it still seems like you need to have actual magical powers if you want to improve your credit rating over time.
But I do understand the general idea, and I think it’s safe to say that if you’ve got a decent credit rating, it’s probably a good sign that your finances are in shape. It means that you’re not in debt and that you can borrow money or get a mortgage if you need to.
Like earning a college degree, the interesting thing about getting a good credit rating is that it takes a lot of time to get there. That alone makes it an accomplishment, but I’d argue that having a decent credit rating is more important (and more useful) than having a college degree.
10) Your childhood self would approve
This is a big one, and it’s also one that my girlfriend uses a lot. The idea is that you try to imagine what might happen if your childhood self met your adult self. If you as a child would have been impressed, you can consider yourself a success.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. For example, a lot of kids would be impressed if you had a car, and as we said earlier, you’ll also need a job, a home and a partner at the same time to be truly accomplished.
Still, it’s a pretty good way to measure your accomplishments, and it always makes me feel a little better to know that I would have been proud of myself if I could have met my adult self as a child. But then, all I ever wanted to do was to write books, and I’ve done that.
11) You feel accomplished
This last one might be an obvious one, but I think it’s important to give it a mention. It’s as simple as this: if you feel accomplished, you probably are.
True, we’re all a little biased when it comes to looking inwards, and so we might not be the best judges of our own accomplishments.
At the same time, we also have a good idea of what we’re capable of. In other words, if we know that our mental health is bad and simply getting out of bed is an accomplishment, that might be all we need to accomplish.
Remember that ultimately, accomplishments are subjective and what seems like a huge accomplishment to one person might be no big deal to another. If you only take one thing away from this article, make it that it’s up to you to decide whether you’ve accomplished what you want to accomplish in life.