Minimalists! What is ‘success’ to you?

What is success to you? It may be a healthy bank account, a fast car or a wardrobe full of designer items but considering you’re reading a minimalist blog, I’ll take a guess that it’s none of those things. 

How do you measure success if it isn’t the counting of money or valuable items? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I’m finding it very difficult to pinpoint what exactly I think success is.


I read about a study by Virginia-based Strayer University that found 90% of American adults believe that success is more about happiness than it is about possessions and power.


This goes against the dictionary definition of success, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect or fame’.


Now Strayer is petitioning Merriam-Webster to change its definition to better reflect the attitudes of Americans.


I’m sure a UK poll would have a focus on happiness as a measure of success too. Proof that happiness is key to our lives was proven by the government’s introduction of a Happiness Index to measure the state of the nation.


I’ve been thinking about ‘success’ because I’m trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that I’m hoping to achieve by moving to minimalism.


I know what practical things I want to achieve: I want to pay off the mortgage, work less, and travel.


But I can’t help but think there is more to life than nice holidays, I just don’t know what that ‘more’ is.


How did you fill up the space that minimalism opened up in your life?


17 thoughts on “Minimalists! What is ‘success’ to you?

  1. I was wondering this the other day, I think I am having a bit of a life crisis really! I am just starting out with minimalism and am unsure what I want to achieve. I don’t enjoy my job (but needs must) but I don’t know what to do instead! I’m hoping it will all become clear and fall into place sometime soon and I will realise what I want from life, until then I will carrying on with my quest to a minimalist lifestyle. Thanks for yet again another thought provoking blog post 🙂

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  2. I like to use Earl Nightingale’s definition of success – “the progression of a worthy ideal.” This allows everyone’s definition of success to be different because our goals and values are different.

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  3. I’m not truly ‘minimal’ … I couldn’t be with my love of books and the amount of cooking I do, but getting rid of all the ‘excess’ opened up a whole new world for me.

    I now fill my time LIVING …… growing the food we eat, making meals from scratch with the plants I have nurtured and picked from the ground I have dug. Looking after the chickens that give us the eggs we eat and sell to make the money to buy their food. Instead of browsing shops looking for things to buy, I walk the dogs along the seafront and through the woods, enjoying the fresh air and the sights and sounds of nature.

    Stepping off the bandwagon truly changed things for us, and we’re planning a whole year of not buying anything, just being happy with what we have and saving all the cash we might have spent to pay off our mortgage which will give us true freedom.


  4. Oh and I meant to say …. before I rambled on ….. Success to me is made up of lots of little successes … a well set jam. a good tasting curry, the seeds I planted coming up after only a few days, remembering to post that letter that has been on the kitchen worktop for three days, the dogs actually ‘sitting’ when I tell them to. Measuring your days by lots of little successes instead of waiting for one big one is a sure fire way to find happiness.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sue, that’s such a lovely way to look at things. Maybe I’ve been so focused on trying to work out the big picture I’ve neglected the things right in front of me. Definitely food for thought. I so admire your dedication to your way of life, I’m afraid if I had to live on what I could grow, I’d starve! I’m also planning a no spend year – hopefully we can cheer one another on. M


  5. We paid our mortgage off a couple of months ago – but haven’t felt the ease on finances yet as we’ve been doing big (read costly!) house improvements since – our boiler literally went bang and our doors and windows were terribly draughty so hopefully the combination of replacing the boiler and doors/ windows will mean we’ll be warmer and that the house is more energy efficient (fingers crossed! :D)

    What it has given us is some peace of mind – my OH is self employed as a management consultant type – and is currently between contracts. Without a mortgage to pay our monthly outgoings are fairly reasonable, especially when you take into account the fact that we have 4 children.

    Everyday successes for me are people complimenting me on my children, my children doing well at school, taking pleasure in producing yummy HM jams and chutneys, reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ coming in and ensuring that there is a definite ‘outflow’ of ‘stuff’, doing my paid job (very part time) well (and even being recognised for it occasionally!) and cooking something which everyone clearly delights in eating. I’d like to have more success in keeping things organised – but hopefully as I reduce ‘stuff’ that will improve!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Huge congratulations on paying off your mortgage! I love the things you count as successes and the clever way in which you have set your life up. We are working the opposite way – just finishing hugely expensive renovations and now overpaying the mortgage. Like your husband I too am self employed so totally understand that the stress is there constantly bubbling away! Your homemade jams sound delicious! Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your story. M


  6. Being 25, I feel there are still quite a few things I’m trying to discover and understand. While doing my meditative walks, I realized that I don’t really want success as much as I want to be content in life. There are a lot of people who are chasing this and that and it looks so tiring at times that it turns me off. Being able to be content at my steady progress in dance, career and relationships leaves me feeling so much more fulfilled. Perhaps when I’m older I’ll strive for the success everyone else desires.

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