10 signs you’re more successful than you think (even if it doesn’t feel that way)

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Ever feel like you’re just not doing enough, even though you’re always busy?

You’re not alone!

Sometimes we get so caught up in what we haven’t done yet that we forget about what we’ve already achieved.

Guess what? You might be doing better than you think.

In this article, we’ll go through 10 signs that show you’re actually succeeding in life, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

1. You Have Goals—And You’re Working Towards Them

Alright, let’s kick this off with something simple but powerful: goals. Do you have them?

If you’re nodding your head, give yourself a high-five. Just having a goal in mind is already a win, my friend.

But wait, are you actually taking steps to reach those goals?

Even baby steps count here.

Maybe you’re saving up a little money each month for a down payment on a house, or you’re taking night classes to get a degree.

Heck, maybe you’re just getting better at cooking so you can host an awesome dinner party.

The point is, having a goal and making some kind of effort to achieve it is a surefire sign you’re on the right path.

You’re not just drifting through life—you’re steering the ship, even if the water’s a bit choppy sometimes.

So if you’ve got goals and you’re working on ’em, you’re already a lot more successful than you might think.

2. You’ve Got True Friends, Not Just Followers

In the age of social media, it’s super easy to confuse “followers” with friends.

A ton of likes or retweets can make you feel popular, but when the chips are down, how many of those “followers” are going to have your back?

If you can count even just a few genuine friends who are there for you when life gets messy- you’re richer than you know.

These are the people who pick up your calls at 2 a.m., who listen when you’re down, and who celebrate your wins like they’re their own.

Having real friends is like having emotional gold in the bank.

It means you’ve been successful in one of the most important areas of life: relationships.

So if you’ve got those ride-or-die pals, you’re already leagues ahead of folks who only measure success in likes and comments.

3. You’ve Failed—And That’s Actually Awesome

How can striking out be a sign of success? Hear me out.

Nobody gets it right all the time.

But it’s not about never falling down; it’s about getting back up again. In fact, failure is one of the best classrooms life has to offer.

The truth is, each failure you’ve faced has taught you something invaluable.

Whether it’s a job you didn’t get, a relationship that didn’t work out, or a startup that flopped, the lessons you learn from those experiences are building blocks for future wins.

So if you’ve had your share of setbacks and you’re still here, still trying, then you’re actually crushing it.

Why?

Because you’re resilient, you’re learning, and you’re growing stronger and wiser for the challenges ahead.

Don’t just sweep your failures under the rug. Own them, learn from them, and recognize that they make you a more layered and effective person.

In a weird, twisted way, failure is a sign you’re doing something right.

You’re taking risks. You’re striving for something better. And that is a success story in the making.

4. You Know How to Say No

You’d think saying “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way would make you successful, right?

Not always. In fact, knowing when to say “no” is a sneaky sign you’re doing better than you think.

Think about it. Saying “no” means you understand your limits.

It means you’re not just piling stuff onto your plate and hoping for the best.

It means you’re focused on what truly matters to you, and you’re not letting yourself get distracted by every shiny thing that comes along.

Maybe you’ve turned down a job offer that doesn’t align with your career goals, or maybe you’ve opted out of a social event to spend some quality me-time.

Either way, the ability to say “no” shows that you’re steering your own ship, that you value yourself and your time, and you’re not afraid to set boundaries.

So next time you turn something down because it doesn’t jive with your life’s direction, give yourself a pat on the back.

You’re making smart, deliberate choices, and that’s a big win in the game of life.

5. You’re Not Where You Used to Be

Sometimes we’re all guilty of focusing too much on the destination and not appreciating the journey.

We beat ourselves up for not having that dream job, dream house, or dream life just yet.

But let’s cut through the noise for a second and get real: Take a look back at where you started. I mean really look.

Are you in the same spot as you were a year ago, or five years ago? Probably not.

Maybe you’ve moved cities, switched jobs, or even just learned to stand up for yourself more.

Those are big deals.

Sure, you might not be exactly where you want to be, but you’re not where you used to be either, and that’s something to celebrate.

Progress is often messy and slow, and yeah, sometimes it’s so subtle you hardly notice it.

But it’s still progress. You’re still moving, still evolving.

If you’re closer to any of your goals or dreams now than you were before, you’ve got something to be proud of.

So don’t be too hard on yourself.

Success isn’t just about the big, flashy wins.

Sometimes it’s about the small, hard-fought steps you take every single day to become a better version of yourself.

And if you can look back and see how far you’ve come, you’re doing alright. More than alright, actually.

6. You’re Not Always Happy—And That’s Okay

Wait, isn’t the whole point of being successful to be happy all the time?

Well, not exactly.

Life isn’t a highlight reel, no matter what Instagram influencers want you to believe.

If you’re experiencing a full range of emotions—including sadness, frustration, or even boredom—that’s not a failure. That’s being human.

Feeling unhappy sometimes might actually be a sign that you’re more successful than you think.

Why? Because it means you’re not settling.

You’re aware that things could be better, and you’re willing to experience discomfort to reach for more.

You’re engaged with your life, your emotions, and the people around you. You’re not numb, and you’re not on autopilot.

If you were completely content all the time, you might not be pushed to grow, to challenge yourself, or to strive for something beyond your comfort zone.

It’s in those tough moments, when you’re questioning yourself and your path, that the seeds of significant success are often planted.

So the next time you’re feeling down or dissatisfied, don’t rush to paint a smile over it.

Acknowledge it. Learn from it. And then use it as fuel to propel you to something even better.

In a strange way, not being “happy-happy” all the time can be a clear signal that you’re attuned to your own aspirations and potential. And that awareness is a cornerstone of true success.

7. You’re the “Go-To” Person for Something

Ever notice that when certain topics come up, eyes start turning your way?

Maybe it’s movie recommendations, or perhaps you’re the tech whiz who everyone trusts with their computer problems.

Heck, you might even be the one people depend on for heart-to-heart advice during a midnight crisis.

Guess what? Being the “go-to” person for anything is a stealthy indicator of success that you’re probably overlooking.

Why does this matter?

Because it means you’ve cultivated a skill, knowledge, or emotional intelligence to the point where others recognize it.

You bring value to the table in a way that’s unique to you.

And hey, isn’t that what we’re all striving for—to be valuable, needed, appreciated?

Being an expert in anything, even if it’s just knowing where to find the city’s best tacos, is a form of social capital that you’ve built up.

It’s a sign that you’ve been paying attention, you’ve been learning, and you’ve been sharing what you know.

And that sort of social validation is not just cool; it’s also a sign that you’re making your mark in your circle, no matter how big or small it is.

So the next time someone nudges you and says, “Hey, you’re the expert on this, what do you think?”—take a moment to appreciate it.

It means you’re a resource, a guide, and a trusted voice. And that’s a pretty awesome place to be.

8. You Take Time for Yourself

Taking time out for yourself is actually a pretty big indicator of success, and here’s why: it means you understand the value of balance.

Life isn’t just about climbing the career ladder or being a social butterfly 24/7.

It’s also about self-care, relaxation, and enjoying your own company.

Whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, or even spending a day doing absolutely nothing, taking “me time” shows that you’re in tune with your needs.

And get this, taking time for yourself isn’t just good for you—it’s good for the people around you too.

You’re much better at supporting others when you’re feeling refreshed and recharged.

It means you can give your best to your job, your relationships, and your goals.

So if you’re someone who understands the importance of taking a breather once in a while, give yourself some credit.

It shows you’ve got your priorities straight, and you understand that success is a marathon, not a sprint.

You’re in it for the long haul, and that’s something to be proud of.

9. You’ve Let Go of Toxic Relationships

Letting go isn’t easy, especially when it comes to people we’ve invested time, emotions, or even years of our lives into.

But let’s be brutally honest: some relationships, whether it’s with friends, family, or romantic partners, are just plain toxic.

They drain your energy, mess with your self-esteem, and hold you back from becoming the person you’re meant to be.

If you’ve managed to identify and walk away from a relationship that’s bad for you, that’s a massive win.

Seriously, give yourself a round of applause.

It takes a ton of courage and self-awareness to cut ties and choose your own well-being over the familiarity and comfort of a toxic relationship.

Getting rid of that negative influence is like taking off a weighted vest you didn’t even know you were wearing.

Suddenly, you’re lighter, you can breathe easier, and you can move faster towards your goals.

This kind of decision isn’t just about moving away from something bad; it’s about moving closer to something better: a life where you can flourish, free from unnecessary baggage.

And if you’ve made that kind of tough call? You’re way more successful in mastering the art of life than you may realize.

10. You’re Not Always Busy—And That’s a Good Thing

Hold on, shouldn’t a successful person be perpetually swamped with tasks, meetings, and obligations?

Isn’t “busyness” the ultimate status symbol these days? Not so fast.

Here comes the counterintuitive twist: If you find yourself with pockets of free time, it doesn’t mean you’re slacking off; it could mean you’re doing something very right.

In a world obsessed with hustle culture, we often mistake constant activity for productivity, and noise for effectiveness.

But if you’ve managed to carve out leisure time for yourself, it likely means you’re efficient and organized enough to get your tasks done without burning the midnight oil.

Having some breathing room in your schedule isn’t a sign of laziness; it’s a sign of balance and perhaps even wisdom.

It means you’re giving yourself the space to think, to dream, and to recharge.

It gives you the opportunity to dive into new hobbies, spend quality time with loved ones, or even just enjoy the simple pleasure of doing nothing for a little while.

So the next time you find yourself with a free evening or weekend, don’t rush to fill it with arbitrary tasks just so you can feel “productive.”

Recognize it for what it is: a hard-earned luxury that indicates you’re managing your life in a way that aligns with long-term success and happiness.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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