How Do You Measure Success?

People will spend on average 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. Work is necessary in our lives to provide for our family and to give us a sense of purpose.

But there is a great danger in setting off to achieve fulfillment and happiness and sacrificing that happiness on the journey.  

I don’t know about you but my wife and I enjoy watching TV shows like House Hunters International and Fixer Upper. Most people want to buy a house that has an “open concept” and “lots of room to entertain”. Why is this? Well the deep reason is that we are social by nature but simply put we enjoy being with other people, we value human relationships and we want to have a house that reflects this.

If you were to reflect on the times in your life when you felt the happiest, I am sure that they would involve the presence of people that you love and that love you in return. 

To bring it back to success and our career- The reason we go to work is to be able to provide a life for those we love. We study hard, we go to school, we work hard to make money but money is not an end in itself. We use money to improve our lives and the lives of our family through stuff: houses, cars, education for our kids, vacation and ultimately retirement.

We want money so that we can have meaningful relationships in our lives.

There is of course a danger here. In our quest for money, to improve the lives of those we love, we can actually destroy the very relationships we want to improve and that actually make us happy.

If we are constantly working late and missing valuable time with our spouse and children, we have to stop and ask ourselves, “Is the money or career advancement I make by working more really worth the cost of a deeper relationship with my spouse and kids?”

Grant it- we all have moments when work is busier and we miss our family dinners or time we normally spend with our spouse but when it becomes our standard we need to reevaluate.

So back to the question.

At the end of your life how will you measure success?

Is it a number on a bank account? Is it the square footage on a house? Is it the lasting relationships that you sacrificed to build with those you love?