A person once asked me what it feels like to be successful.
I didn't know how to respond because I don't regard myself as a success. A scrambler, yes. A striver, certainly. A success? I'm not so sure about that.
The more I learn about various subjects, the more I'm humbled by the vast amount of material I haven't even studied, much less mastered. Others may see what has been done while I see all that remains undone.
There is another aspect to this feeling: the sense that to declare oneself a success is a bit smug. Smugness can be the prelude to decline. Many a dunce is a self-proclaimed genius.
This doesn't mean that the achievement of various goals cannot be appreciated. That is not only wise but necessary if the demoralization of the treadmill is to be squelched. Watching the clouds, having a good cup of coffee, and quietly reviewing how something was achieved can be as good as it gets.
There is another crucial point and I draw it from the Army's three elements of leadership:
Be - Know - Do.
Too often, society defines success in the realm of "Do" instead of "Be." In assessing our own progress, we need to avoid that trap and recognize that making progress both in Being and Doing is important. Our internal advances may well outweigh any external ones.
There is much wisdom in the old line that "He who conquers himself is greater than he who takes a city."