Changing our mindsets about success

Justine Liu, staff writer

A few weeks ago, my family and I sat around the dinner table eating traditional hotpot and celebrating the Lunar New Year. 

As most holiday dinners go with my family, the adults shared stories about my grandparents in Taiwan, along with childhood memories. That night, I absorbed everything I heard about my grandpa escaping Communism during WWII: he and my grandma building a factory from scraps, and my parents moving to America.  

Days after the dinner, what lingered on my mind was the theme of regret in those stories. 

My parents grew up perceiving their parents’ regrets. For instance, my mom and her sisters were bystanders when my grandpa lost a job opportunity that would have allowed his family to move to America sooner and accumulate wealth. His disappointment was clear. 

Since that incident, my grandpa progressed through life, carrying that regret like a failure.  In these tales, many regrets were decisions made to take one path instead of another. My grandpa failed to recognize that his accomplishments in his business and raising children who eventually came to America were successes. Instead, he wondered if the other path that may have led to wealth would have allowed him to “succeed” even more. 

I see this same mindset of success forming in my peers and myself. 

As a senior, I am on the front lines of high schoolers stressed out about their futures. I am part of the group that gets carried away with the pressures of getting into college, maintaining a high GPA, or choosing a field that financially flourishes. Though this is a critical time for your education, listening to the adults I look up to speak down on their accomplishments made me rethink what success means to me. 

I recognize that success isn’t measured by what school you end up at, how much money you make or will make, and certainly not by a singular decision.

I once had a college interviewer tell me, “The fact that you are here, trying to gain a good education, is a success.” 

I urge us to adopt this mindset more because the older you get, the more opportunities for regrets you will have and the harder it is to reverse a negative mindset about your accomplishments. 

As we enter the Year of the Rabbit, take the time to appreciate the life you’ve built and the journey you and your family took to get there. The effort put into every day is a form of success, and valuing your accomplishments will help you start the new lunar year stronger than how you ended the last one.