Money, reach, size and other statistics tell you a lot about your job, but that's not where the real work lies, says blogger Maria Popova. The real effort is in not equating those with your own sense of success or achievement.
Photo by svilen001
In a chat with 99U, Popova — the brains behind Brain Pickings — talks about how people often ask her for tips on how to make a website that has a huge following, or some other sort of number-based measurement of success. But that is only a byproduct of your inner drive to do good work, she says:
The real work is how not to hang your self-worth, your sense of success and merits, the fullness of your heart, and the stability of your soul on those numbers — on that constant positive reinforcement and external validation. That's the only real work, and the irony is that the more "successful" you get, by either your own standards or external standards, the harder it is to decouple all of those inner values from your work. I think we often confuse the doing for the being.
It's not shatteringly new advice, but Popova puts across what matters in a way that is memorable and impactful. Most of us would do well to remember this the next time we're working overtime for that extra one per cent.