It’s a simple question, really. But it can be a surprisingly tough one to answer.
These folks were part of a social experiment (seen below) created by A Plus, Strayer University, and Change.org. The experiment set out to see how people view their own success compared to how their loved ones view how successful they are.
Needless to say, from their answers, you can see most respondents weren’t too enthusiastic about their own accomplishments (to put it lightly).
It’s worth noting that, in general, we humans aren’t always great at recognizing our own success.
In fact, many of us are downright awful at it.
“Congratulations! You aced your test, smarty pants!” “Nah, I just lucked out and studied the chapters that happened to be on the final.”
“Whoa, you broke the record for fastest 5K?” “Well, I had the wind at my back that last mile, so…”
As Margie Warrel wrote in Forbes, aside from “serial narcissists” and “super low achievers,” many of us fall victim to what’s been dubbed Impostor Syndrome.
Impostor Syndrome makes us feel as though we’re undeserving of our success, even when reality clearly indicates otherwise, and it allows us to credit our victories to luck, or falsely feel as though we’re “faking” our achievements, and our peers or teachers or bosses will find out we’re frauds who don’t belong (hence “impostor”).
But here’s the thing: Just because we don’t always recognize our own success doesn’t mean it goes unnoticed.
After participants ranked their own level of success in the social experiment, their loved ones were also asked to rate the participants’ level of success. As you may have guessed, the loved ones’ responses were drastically different.
“Too often the concept of success is clouded by factors like money and power,” Jordan Zaslow, who produced and directed the video for A Plus, told Upworthy.
“But the truth is that most people consider their greatest successes to be the people in their lives and their personal moments of happiness.”
That’s why the collaborators are hoping their video has a real impact.
And maybe it’s even time we change the definition of success.
“People who set and reach goals like becoming healthier, being a mentor, or helping out in their communities aren’t successful” as defined by Merriam-Webster, according to the petition. “But we know that simply isn’t true.”
Watch the whole experiment.
I promise it’s three minutes worth your time.