I’ve been thinking about the nature of success:

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I’ve been working in HE for five years and I have to admit, whilst I have no doubt that ‘success’ abounds (degrees completed, research grants awarded, public engaged with etc.) far too many people don’t recognise it if it doesn’t look (to them) big enough. In many of my day to day encounters people will talk in terms of what hasn’t been done, what is going to be ‘too hard’ or what they got wrong.

Based on the above definition, we are all successful every day.  I assume none of you aimed to come to work in your pj’s today (fun though that might be), so a collective round of applause for all of us achieving the aim of getting dressed!

I think we are all very good at not recognising how the ‘little stuff’ wins are the building blocks to reaching our self-imposed, grandiose markers for success.  I wondered then if there was a way to reframe the way we look at success.

Celebrate
On any day of the week, somewhere, someone will be celebrating.  Not just the obvious such as a birthday, academic achievement or getting of a driving licence but often a shared identity or cause.

In America today, there are at least eight themed days that people are honouring.

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What’s the relevance of ‘particularly preposterous packaging day’ to my rambling?  Well, in order to have a national day of celebration, people have to reflect on what has been achieved, why these things matter and how the activity has made a difference.  In other words, they have to ponder what aims or purpose have been met.

During these days of reflection, I am sure there will be sharing of stories, reminiscing on memories, laughter, social media connectivity and undoubtedly someone being told ‘well done’.

I think it is important for us to remember to celebrate success (whether defined as big or small) on a regular basis.  Invest the time in recognising your own achievements, good deeds and happy feelings as often as you can.  If you can recognise the success of others too, so much the better.

I am not a researcher, so I can’t guarantee you this will work but I feel confident there must be a link between noticing our own achievements and feeling happy.

There’s no time like the present but if you want to ruminate on my words first, why not start you success recognition regime tomorrow, on National happiness happens day!

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