Success Can’t be Told Through Numbers

June 27, 2019

Various forms of metrics and data surround us in the digital age to provide us the illusion that we can measure our success with numbers. Anxiety levels are at an all time high and our self-doubts are consistently piling on. But the cold hard truth is that our success can’t be told through numbers. These metrics surrounding us and “tied to us” can’t tell the story of who we are.  The drive to push the data and metrics further while compared to other people has led to an emphasis of importance on a future state of being and the corresponding happiness tied to it. To some, the value of a future period has become to be worth significantly more than the current state.

You’ve probably heard some form of this statement before: “I am going to be so happy once XYZ happens.” You yourself might have even said statements like these. I know I am completely guilty on countless occasions. It’s a common practice to place so much emphasis on achieving our goals that the thought of being our happiness currently becomes an unfeasible feat. How crazy is that concept that we’ve trained ourselves to believe?? 

Exhaustion over this vicious cycle will eventually overtake the ability to continue and cloud the mind with uncertainty. The present will never seem enough because we are no longer working for the present. We are solely putting effort to run after the future. The chase for a future state of happiness will burn us out. How do I know? Because I’ve been there endless times. 

I’ve always been someone who has at least one more goal on the horizon before checking off my current one(s). I thought my satisfaction with myself and life in general was tied to accomplishing all the future goals. I developed a numbness towards my current achievements. Whatever I accomplish in the present is masked with the thought of the next goal to conquer. What possibly can be better can achieving better and bigger dreams, right? WRONG.

By not appreciating my current state of being, I am slowly losing potential in the long run. When the future arrives and the goals get satisfied, what is left? More goals in the future. Instead of learning how to live in the present and being appreciate of the work in progress, the mind has fixated itself to a state that never really stabilizes because the future isn’t always a set point in time. In fact, the future is everlasting. The future cannot be defined definitively.

Most commonly, people are staring into the future thinking that their happiness is tied to a X salary, X grade, X number of followers, X subscribers, X number of friends, X weight, etc. The pattern is in all of our lives, whether we want to come to terms with it or not. And even if we do, it’s the drive to want to live in the present that can help us push out the negative thoughts tied to our future success. These variables can’t determine our worth, our success or our value in any way or shape. Metrics are always backed up by some average, right? Who’s to say measuring ourselves up against those averages can determine something…or anything at all? And besides, I think averages are complete BS – sample sizes rarely completely and unbiasedly represent the population. Yet through some social construct, they are able to engulf our minds into thinking we have to fit into a society set “norm”. Since averages = social norm, right? Let’s first realize that this is COMPLETELY false.

We’ve all heard it before: the idea that we need to be more in the present. But how many of us actually practice what we preach? I know I struggle with this constantly. But I think the key is to wean ourselves off the various measures of success surrounding us. Stop thinking of the numbers we see daily, stop wishing for tomorrow, stop needing a new goal just for the sake of it. Living in the present means appreciating the process.

But the thoughts of future can still come creeping in. The thought that reaching some other numbers/metrics can lead to greater success will still linger. And we don’t have to completely shut it all out. Life is about balance, right? So is our way of thinking. Balance out how you can enjoy the journey of it all while also appreciating the fact that you can change in the future. Don’t refer to the future as a better place to be compared to the present. Rather, think of the present as your chance of uncovering all the good that you can bring into the future. Your present state has the ability to make the future better, rather than always vice versa. Remember that the future will one day become your present.

Refrain from focusing so much on the metrics around you. You will meet shallow people who will tell you that your worth is dependent on your salary, following, weight, etc. But you know better than that – you know that success cannot be measured one-dimensionally. Everyone is worth more than some number. It’s no easy feat to enjoy every step of the journey; but it’s a feat we have to take on nonetheless to reap in more benefits in the long run. Let this post be a reminder to love your current state of being and to stop wishing the future is here. The present can be just as good, if not better, than an unknown future.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also enjoy:

Personal Thoughts : Life After Graduating College

The Importance of Positive Energy

When Luck Meets Opportunity

100 Lil’ Things in Life that Brings Happiness

A million and one thanks for reading – until my next lil’ thought then!

xx jen


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  • Reply Ashley Kelley June 27, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    “Everyone is worth more than some number.”


    I’ve spent countless amounts of my time digging into the state of happiness, and how to maintain a steady flow of it – i even started therapy because i truly NEEDED it.

    I’ve never been one to be sucked into needing a million followers, or needing to be surrounded by many people – all I want is to be happy, but how do you keep in mind your happiness right here and now when the whole world is anticipating on what they’re going to do later on in life. It’s a hard struggle but I’ve come to learn that when you surround yourself with people alike thats when you present happiness will come and blossom, not when you’re searching for it in the future.

    Loved this post babe!

    XOXO Ashley

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 28, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      OMG thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and share with me your thoughts!! I am right there with you in regards to those feelings and I am so proud of you for taking a step towards getting an alternative view + making an effort to live a happier life not surrounded by the need to be satisfied with external forces!! Hope you have an amazing weekend!
      xx jen

  • Reply Natoya June 27, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Very well written Jen. It is so important to remind ourselves to live in the present. Instead we are always thinking more than one day ahead. Which is all well and good if your planning for the bigger picture house, family, savings. But in terms of online life aka social media, I agree we can’t measure our success through followers and likes. Great read : ) xo

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 28, 2019 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words and for taking the time to read this post! I completely agree with you on the need to balance what we need to plan ahead for and what we need to live in the moment for! Have an amazing weekend!
      xx jen

  • Reply Allie Mackin June 27, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Great post and very insightful. Yes many of us worry but there are much bigger things to worry about sadly then followers and likes. Though living in the present can help with some of the stress. Great shots here! Are you NY based? Let me know if you would ever like me to shoot you.

    Allie of

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      Hey Allie! Thanks so much for reading!! And yes, I am NYC based – would love to shoot together sometime! Have an amazing weekend!
      xx jen

  • Reply Ruth Josey June 28, 2019 at 6:52 am

    The hardest thing is to keep focus when there are so many things out there showing what you can be if you achieve the “high numbers”. Blogging is such a perfect example of that. You probably know how many affiliate programs look at your numbers (blog and other social media following) and when you’re turned down by one, it really makes you feel a bit down. It’s easy to get discouraged with these things and lose sight of the end goal (and the fact that it may be a long time coming). It’s great to have encouragement from other bloggers and from followers. Thank you for sharing the encouragement! And did you notice that in the one shot of you standing on the rock in front of that rounded corner building, the lines of the bricks on the building exactly follow the lines of your head and hair? Looks like a little halo 😛


    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 28, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      Hi Ruth!! Thank you so much for reading this post! And I agree with everything you’ve said – the metrics associated with blogging was the first thing that popped into my head when I first sat down to write about this topic. It’s so hard to separate what we should focus on for our happiness and what we actually do. It has been amazing to connect with other bloggers who are able to relate! And ahh, I just noticed the photo now ahah – just made my day! Hope you have an amazing weekend!
      xx jen

  • Reply Jennifer June 28, 2019 at 8:30 am

    This is so well written!! And this is all so true! I think we all have this mindset and were raised to believe that if something happens our life would be better.

    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 28, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      YESSS!!! I agree with you! Have an amazing weekend!
      xx jen

  • Reply allie June 28, 2019 at 9:09 am

    this is such an incredibly written post – I resonate with it so hard!
    We totally get caught up in numbers whether it be followers, your weight, etc (these are the two big ones for me). A change in these numbers – in an increase or decrease – don’t change me as a person or my worth. so important to remember!
    xo, allie

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 28, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      ahh thanks soo much allie – it means the world to me that you took the time to read this post + left this amazing message! Your two big number focuses are also mine so i totally get where you are coming from! hope you have an amazing weekend!
      xx jen

  • Reply Ellese June 28, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    I completely agree with you on this! And you look fabulous. Xo, Ellese


    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 28, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      thanks for reading ellese!
      xx jen

  • Reply Suzan J June 28, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Loved this! It’s so important to remember that success means something different for everyone, & that is unique and beautiful!

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 28, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post & for leaving this sweet message Susan! Hope you have an amazing weekend!
      xx jen

  • Reply Maira June 29, 2019 at 3:42 am

    Beautiful job on this piece, lovely 🙂 Very interesting and I totally relate.

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 29, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      thank you so much maira!
      xx jen

  • Reply Yiota June 29, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Unfortunately, we grow up and start focusing on numbers. Higher grades at school, higher salary at work, bigger house, bigger car etc but nobody teaches us how to actually be happy, how to do things and enjoy life. And it’s sad cause life goes really really fast and we must learn to enjoy every single moment.


    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 29, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      yes yes yes!! I love this message so much! I remember the days when I didn’t care about any of that stuff and then it slowly all came creeping in! thanks so much for reading!
      xx jen

  • Reply Jade Goddard June 29, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Omg i agree!!! This post was beautiful !

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen June 29, 2019 at 1:52 pm

      thanks so much jade!
      xx jen

  • Reply Rachel Harrison June 29, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    I love this! I always say that if you’re doing something for the ‘numbers’ you’re in it for the wrong reasons. I have had a number of blogs over the years, none of them have ever really took off, but I keep doing it because I love it and its a creative outlet where I can express myself. It is so important to be grateful and enjoy where you are in the present moment as well, or else you end up constantly reaching for the next thing and never allowing yourself to just appreciate the now.

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 2, 2019 at 10:34 pm

      ahh thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts with me! I know what you mean by the blog numbers and realized that it’s important to love what you do before focusing on the rest!
      xx jen

  • Reply Carmen / blog coach June 30, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    So true that metrics & comparisons are a never-ending cycle. I started spending less time on social media & want him myself, Reading, meditating, it allows me to know myself more & be more productive, way better for my mental health. :]

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 2, 2019 at 10:35 pm

      yes yes yes!! I’ve been having days where I am able to just disconnect and honestly those are the best days! thanks so much for reading!
      xx jen

  • Reply LindaLibraLoca July 1, 2019 at 4:43 am

    I like numbers to measure my forthcoming, but I agree, tying your self worth and happiness to them is detrimental.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 2, 2019 at 10:35 pm

      thanks so much for reading!
      xx jen

  • Reply Monica Sors July 1, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Love your casual style, dear!
    Mónica Sors

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 2, 2019 at 10:35 pm

      thank you!
      xx jen

  • Reply Caroline MAlone July 1, 2019 at 10:52 am

    This post resonated with me so so much. Not only in the blogging world, but I feel like in my mid twenties I am constantly obsessed with measuring my success next to other people’s. I’m finding it one of the hardest things with growing up is not comparing yourself and what your worth and what numbers you have next to you, compared to friends and family. The problem is we’ve always been told you are identified by your achievement depending on numbers, we need to get ourselves out of that mind set early on! xx

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 2, 2019 at 10:36 pm

      ahhh caroline I completely resonate with your experience and have an abundance of my own instances where I feel these feelings!! Hoping we can move beyond that and really focus on our happiness!
      xx jen

  • Reply Everyday moda July 2, 2019 at 6:15 am

    Thank You for that post, this is so true. We have to learn how to enjoy life now, not waiting for the future.
    Please write more such posts!

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 2, 2019 at 10:37 pm

      thank you!
      xx jen

  • Reply Ashley July 2, 2019 at 11:03 am

    This was such a good read, Jen- and it really resonated with me! I rarely celebrate my current wins; I’m always onto the next. And it definitely impacts how I’m able to be happy in the present.

    Le Stylo Rouge

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 2, 2019 at 10:37 pm

      thank you so much for reading Ashley!! You should definitely celebrate your wins!!
      xx jen

  • Reply Jessica July 2, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    You’re absolutely right dear, and I couldn’t agree more. Indeed, success differs from one person to another. Anyway, thanks for the fun read.

    Jessica |

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 2, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      thank you so much for reading jessica!
      xx jen

  • Reply mercy July 3, 2019 at 1:26 am

    These are nice thoughts and concerns, I now shrug off my concern over the numbers of likes or followers that I get. Social media is only a tiny part of life, if it’s not my main source of living then who cares. But I still like my blog as it’s my main source of creativity without the competition from others. Thanks for the boost dear.

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm

      thanks so much for reading! and yes i totally agree with you – these outlets should be our creative outlets rather than a place to compete! hope you’re having an amazing week!
      xx jen

  • Reply Angie July 4, 2019 at 1:33 am

    I couldn’t agree more Jen. I honestly really needed to read this post, thank you so much for sharing. I’ve been trying to focus on celebrating, living and appreciating the present and all that it is bringing, as opposed to continuously looking and worrying about what is ahead. Focusing, recognizing and celebrating the little victories along with the big ones. Hoping to focus more on creative activities, reading, running and such as opposed to worrying about numbers on social media platforms or comparing my journey to others. Thank you again for this lovely post. <3

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 10, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      thank you so much for this beautiful comment and for reading Angie – means the world to me! I agree with everything that you’ve said – the little victories are what makes life interesting and moving!
      xx jen

  • Reply mysecretluxury July 4, 2019 at 2:59 am

    Very nicely written. Learn the beliefs and actions that has proven they can guarantee success.

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 10, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      YES i agree! thanks for reading!
      xx jen

  • Reply Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's July 9, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Oh god, an unknown future sounds like the worst thing T_T I’d take the present any day! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Reply lilthoughtswithjen July 10, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      yesss i agree! hope you’re having an amazing week!
      xx jen

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