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As a millennial, I am inspired by our generation’s obsession with a new idea of success. For decades we have been forced to view success as a measure of money, education, and corporate titles. However, as misunderstood as millennials are amongst other generations, our greatest power is our redefinition of success.

Coming into adulthood off the heels of the recession changed us.

We had no other choice but to see success through the lens of truth. The cookie-cutter approach of gaining a degree, a career, and a spouse— wasn’t always offered to us. Simply because the opportunities were not available. Though many millennials were first crushed by this reality, it became a blessing in disguise.

It allowed us to understand the true definition of success. From early human existence where success was considered to be daily survival to the six-figure earning professional success story, the definition has always evolved. However, the reality of success never changes.

Success, in my eyes, is relative.

What works for one person, will never work for another. Just like the person who went to school for a number of years to obtain a high paying job has found success, so has the lonely teenage girl who longs for love so she gets pregnant. I think these startling different examples are important because it reveals the reality that success is often determined by socioeconomic status, gender, race, and other societal factors. Millennials are the first group in a long time to realize this basic truth: success is what we believe it to be. Though our generation has come to these realizations about the truth of success, many of us are still in the dark about the process that leads to it. We are still caught off guard about the interruptions in our life’s story and the obstacles that will constantly get thrown into our path.

No matter how you define success, it will be a tough and tiring journey.

Throughout the story of your life, you will lose loved ones, lovers will break your heart a few times and you will be face to face with decisions that can change the course of your life if you let it. From becoming an athlete to an entrepreneur, I have redefined what success means to me and the people around me.

However, no matter the course I took toward a successful life, I have faced trials ranging from injuries to emotional distress. Understanding that this comes with the territory is what truly molded me and led to even greater success in my life.

Imagine that your body is a boat and the first type of person jumps in the river of life and allows the stream and waves of life to have their way with them. The second type of person jumps in the same river of life but with a sail and oars. I see the beauty in both of these people but according to the general assumptions of success most people would say that the person with the sail and oars would be more successful.

The story of my life is being the first person of this story, jumping into the water and just dealing with the stream and waves.

The older I became I saw the differences between the two people in this story. As the saying goes, we all believe that the grass is greener on the other side. I saw this as a youngster and began to navigate this river of life with ores. It took a very long time for me to develop a sail but once I did I also equipped myself with it and the change was all the difference in my life.

When I define success, I look within and encourage everyone around me to do the same. I allow myself to take risks, make mistakes, and constantly evolve. Most of all, I embrace every heartbreak and setback because time and time again, I have found myself safely swimming back to shore.

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