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What Defines a Successful Life?

Jennifer is a group therapist committed to helping people grow emotionally and develop the lives they want. She is the founder and director of the ...Read More

It’s graduation time. This comes with much discussion about what guides us towards a successful life. I think it is valuable for us as a community to explore and discuss what we mean by life success.

The findings of a recent study called The American Express LifeTwist Study, offer some enlightening additions to this public discussion. Some of the key findings include: people value all the twists and turns of life’s journey, and no longer expect or even want a linear trajectory towards success; people increasingly value experiences, not things; and the one I love as relationship therapist, we value quality relationships as one of the top components of a successful life.

If we put stock into the findings of this study, we can tweak the old adage that life is about the journey, not the destination, by adding that a winding, twisting journey with others helps to create a richer and more fulfilling life.

Another interesting point for discussion came from a respected career coach, being interviewed about advice to give to recent graduates. This career expert urges young people to follow career paths and vocations that create meaning and value in their lives and in the world. The idea being that the emphasis should be placed solely on what you like, love or even feel passionately about, but rather, upon doing and giving something of value to ourselves and others.

After all, when we are pursuing life work that creates meaning for us, we will still have good days and bad days / sometimes we will like it and sometimes we won’t. Focusing on meaning and value is a refreshing perspective to the clichéd ‘follow your passion’ conversation.

What is your definition of a successful life?

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