How to Measure Success?

Ali Raza
3 min readSep 5, 2021

I have been learning about how our model of the world and the mindset affect our growth in the long run. Here’s my try of converting what I’ve learned into words (a bit scattered though).

Just a sunset captured by me…

Comparison with others

The biggest mistake people make while measuring success doing comparisons. Even though human beings are 99.9 percent identical when it comes to DNA but still they are unique and just different on so many levels. When it comes to outcomes, there should be no comparison. Their path, their model of this world, the way they perceive reality, and their moral values will always be different from each other.
Sure you can relate to somebody but you can never completely understand them. And you can never act like them because to do so you’ll have to become them and go through everything they have gone through.

Education System and Scores

Now back in 2018 when I left college, I used to be very rebellious and kinda against the education system. That perception has changed quite a bit 😛. I’ve realized quite some pros lately but that won’t stop me from criticizing it again.
One big damage that the education system has done is by setting this wrong mindset in children when it comes to measuring success. The idea of measuring a student’s success by comparing their scores with other students is just so dumb. It’s just that everyone has it differently. You can’t compare someone’s success by comparing their scores in the exams.
Sure competition might be healthy in some cases but this kind of competition does more harm than good. Children adopt this way of measuring success and apply this comparison trick everywhere in their life later on.

Vicious Cycle of Validation

Sure your worldly achievements are a sign that you worked hard but they can never represent your true struggle. Your true struggle is something only you can understand. Maybe you had to go through much more than other people who have achieved as much as you. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

We often use our worldly achievements to get validation from others. Take social media as an example. Or should I be more specific and say take LinkedIn. You go visit the homepage right now and you’ll see it filled with people showing off their achievements with posts related to landing a job, promotions, shifting to a new office, and swags/gifts. They use the best camera equipment they have and take photos from the best angles just to post on “social media”. Why do you think they do so? Of course to get validation!
Now, this is a vicious cycle. No matter how big you achieve that need for further validation never goes away. The sooner you get out of this cycle the better.

Graduates after posting on LinkedIn about their new (unpaid) internships… 👀

What Should Be Done?

Rather than using our worldly achievements to get validation, we should look back at the path we’ve walked on. The struggles we personally went through. Rather than comparing ourselves with others, it would be far healthier if we compare our present self with that past self.
The path is always different. Everyone has their different kind of struggles. There are just so many uncontrollable factors that we can’t control such as our family, environment, religion, and the place we were born in. The key is to take it slow. Improve a little day-by-day and when you crave validation, just look at the path you’ve walked up till now and you’ll realize how far you’ve come.



Ali Raza

Software developer // writer. Into philosophy, literature, and comp. science.