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What It Means to Be Successful... in Life or As an Educator

Growing up, we always wondered how life would be as an adult.

SUCCESS is not the key to happiness. HAPPINESS is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Growing up, we always wondered how life would be as an adult. What career would we have? How would our families turn out? How might we view ourselves as successful people? I know that I have asked myself those questions about a million times. Although, the central issue that stands out to me is what it means to have success in life. Now, people may say that being successful means having the luxury of being rich and famous, having a high paying job, money, a big house, and fancy accessories; yet, people don’t realize that just having these things does not necessarily lead to happiness in life. It means something different to each one of us, and we are all striving for some form of it. For me, success means being able to accomplish my goals in life. It’s about getting the education that I deserve, finding the right career choice that will make me smile every day, having a family who I love and adore, and just being the person I believed I’d be when I grew up. Success is not all about the appearance. It is about the joys of working towards having a well-balanced life and striving for greatness.

As I have said, success for me means being the person who follows the goals that lead to a successful career. As I have grown up, I have always had the idea of becoming an English teacher. Now, I know this career brings struggles for teachers and their students, but I am willing to give it my all to better educate young adults and change their lives so they can be successful as well. I want them to feel like they have accomplished something in their life by getting a good education and stepping in the right direction leading to a successful career. As for me, I know that I have spent my 20 years asking myself did I accomplish everything that I have ever wanted? Did this accomplishment benefit me in the long run? My life may be crazy, and it has its hard times, but the success that I have desired comes from being able to wake up in the morning, attending school and receiving my college degree, spending time with my family and friends, and just being happy with what I have. People will have different opinions of what success means to them. Mine is being the person that my parents raised me to be, and that is a happy and hardworking human being. I am not sure what life would look like in the future if I had all of the success. But I want to be able to have the career that I have always dreamt of having.

I was blessed to grow up in a household with supporting and loving parents who never pressured me into being someone that I am not. My mom and dad have acknowledged the fact that I have wanted to pursue a career in Education since I was a little girl. Even though they are well aware of the hard struggles with teaching young adults and the low paying costs, they still support me through it all. In other words, as I have come to starting my career and viewing myself as a successful person, it is relating to the fact that being happy is the most important aspect in life when I have the best support group on my side.

Besides that, I do struggle with developing a healthy growth mindset. So, for me to lead a path to success, I need to be more mindful of my skills and abilities to create neutral connections that I will use for the rest of my life. As stated in Strategies for Creating Success in College and Life, Skip Downing explains that “if you’ve developed a growth mindset, you have a core belief that will help you achieve success in college and beyond” (193). As I further myself into developing a growth mindset, I have to understand what my intelligence, abilities, and personality say about me. These ideas show me that a way to establish a mindset is to train myself more, be motivated to challenge myself and accomplish tasks and to fix my mistakes and learn from failure. According to Sarah Rohne, author of Developing True Grit and a Growth Mindset, she indicates that “people with a growth mindset see their abilities as flexible entities that can be developed through dedication and effort” (2). Having these abilities can benefit the way I deal with different obstacles in my life and taking advantage of more opportunities that come. Another aspect of having a healthy growth mindset is to push me in the right direction to success. The passion for stretching myself and sticking to something important is the mark of a growth mindset. One thing to be considered when having a growth mindset is understanding the relationships that are contributing to my growth and development and determine who profoundly impacts my life (Ruebusch 12). This statement might also encourage others to do the same and allow them to try their hardest to achieve greatness.

One of the first things that I would like to change and work on to further my success is to be able to make my own decisions regarding my career choice without anyone’s contradictions. Growing up, as I explained to others my passion for teaching, I would always get asked questions like, “Why a teacher, they don't make enough money?” or “Are you sure you’ll be happy with that job?” My response would still be the same. I chose to become a teacher because I have the idea of making a difference in children’s lives. It doesn’t matter how much money a teacher is paid; it’s about teaching adolescents the value of an education and the gift that it gives them. I want to be able to let people know what I am determined to do with my life, without any judgment. According to Alain de Botton in TED Talk: “A Kinder Gentler Philosophy of Success,” he states that “[we] [should] figure out [our] own personal idea of success and to avoid career anxiety and stresses” (Botton). To accomplish this, we need to figure out our dreams and not let others dictate what we should do and avoid being envious or judgmental. I realize now that it does not matter what people say about my career. It is essential for me to be who I want to be and what will guarantee my trail to success.

The second item I would like to work on is the basis of accepting my past defeats and moving forward to learn from my failures. I can learn to recognize failure in a way that will benefit my success because everyone will experience a time in their life where they’ll fail at one thing or another. Learning to adapt to failure is a key component that leads to success by attempting to fix what needs to be improved. In the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol S. Dweck explains “failure is potentially missing out on great opportunities” (7). Gaining more experience to overcome failure will help reach my optimal goal that will influence success. As Dweck formerly stated in the text, failures cause missed opportunities; although they may be crucial stepping stones, they can easily be established. I will learn from the past failures, have a passion for learning, and not miss any great opportunities. So, whenever I face an issue I could arrange a way to be successful and avoid any failures that I endure. I will not be afraid to fall. As a future teacher, I must create a “career ladder” that will be used when experiencing new opportunities and develop professional growth and other incentives, leading to success.

The third item that I plan to fix is the ability to be more motivated and working hard towards getting a degree in teaching. As a way to be happy and find success in life, motivation and encouragement need to be developed. Teodora Popescu and Laura Serbanescu, authors of Motivation for the Teaching Career, give an explanation of research that says motivation in choosing the teaching career and according to the authors' research, students will be attracted by the teaching career because it is their calling to a future’s success (692). These ideas will help me determine my motivational skills, and give reasons why being motivated to make the career that I love can benefit me and my path to success.

The last thing I would like to focus on is practicing more to better myself, not only in my career but also in life, leading up to future success. Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success, addresses the idea that excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice (39). With this statement, he believes that the “10,000-hour rule” is the best and most important way to achieve these tasks. From a personal perspective, I do believe that applying the 10,000-hours of practice on one particular thing can help me focus more. For example, I can use this rule of practice as I take advantage of many opportunities that will come my way. I have the skills to work harder and become an expert at certain things, just by getting enough practice. Being able to better myself will eventually help lead the right path to my future success.

In conclusion, the way that I define success relates to being happy with one’s life, family, job, or anything else that matters to someone who believes in being successful. Success is being determined to do anything and be anything we set our minds. Most successful people have a plan on what they want to do with their lives. For me, I have the luxury of achieving my short-term and long-term goals. Furthermore, being happy with one’s life is the ultimate part of being driven to success and fitting your passion into your life. What does success mean to you?

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