When I’m flipping through magazines or watching a few minutes of television, I often see the word “success” defined in strict, black-and-white terms: People who have money are successful and people who don’t have money are not. While, on the one hand, I can understand this idea and it certainly does boil a complicated concept down to its component parts, I’m not sure it’s a definition that fits my own experience. In fact, I think an entirely new definition is in order here. I would say that “success” means developing a life that is well-rounded and multifaceted. Pardon my boasting, but I’m going to use my own life as an example.
I am currently working in the health care industry, and I take courses in my spare time to expand my knowledge and allow me to take on promotions. I’m not in medical school, by any means, but I do take my education and my career seriously and it’s something I devote a significant amount of time toward. It would be really easy for me to simply work and study, and chop the rest of my passions out of my life, but instead, I cultivate a wide variety of other interests.
For example, I play the violin. I learned to play when I was a kid, and it was something that I was passionate about that made me feel artistic and creative. Every day, when I pulled my violin out of my case and I started to play, I was transported away from my worries and I could just focus on making music and enjoying my time alone. When I was in school, I had to practice in order to keep my grades up. But, now I play for the sheer pleasure of playing. It’s just something that I sincerely love to do.
I also run every day. Right now, I’m training to be in a marathon, but even if I didn’t have that race hanging in front of me, I would still run. Being athletic and staying in shape is just so important for your overall health, and running is a great way to do that. Plus, when I am running, I get transported into a clean and meditative zone. My worries melt away.
By running and playing violin, as well as working and studying, a have a full life that has a firm foundation in many areas. To me, that’s success.
Katherine Winikoff lives in Florida, and is currently completing a series of medical certification programs. In addition, Katherine Winikoff is training for the Athleta Iron Girl marathon.