We often think of success in terms of how we compare to the people around us.

Do we have more money, more prestigious jobs, better physiques or greater reputations?

If so, we may consider ourselves to be successful, if not, we may berate ourselves and feel as though we have underachieved.

I had a speaking engagement over the weekend and afterwards, amongst those who wanted to chat with me, I met a gentleman who reminded me that there are other, more resourceful ways of measuring success.

This elderly man had a weathered face that clearly had a story to tell.

He gently shook my hand and explained that he had been an alcoholic for 52 years, but would be celebrating that he had been sober for seven years this week.

What a terrific achievement!

His measure of success isn’t against anyone else, but against the person that he was seven years ago.

He may never compose a great symphony, be a leader in business or write a best-selling book, but he is a genuine success story.

He is a man who has battled some serious demons and won.

He told me that he still attends 9 AA meetings a week to keep himself on track and assist others win their battles against chronic alcoholism.

I’m sure that many people would walk past him in the street and think very little of him, but I have a new definition of success.

It’s not how you compare against everyone else, but how you compare against who you were a few years ago.

Have you won your battle against a particular challenge?

Have you learned new skills?

Have you made a contribution to those around you?

Thanks to my new friend for this reminder and I hope that he enjoys his anniversary with a nice glass of orange juice.

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