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Redefining success: an overachiever's view

My Planning 10 teacher taught the students in my class how to answer interview questions this year, but there was one question that particularly stood out to me: “Do you consider yourself successful?”

These days, I’m involved in so many projects that everything I do seems ordinary to me. The average Canadian male teenager watches 2.6 hours of television a day, said Statistics Canada. I’m an exception to that; I always seem to be busy doing something I love, and I sometimes don’t even realize how much work I’m doing because I’ve acclimatized to everything.


For many of my peers, it seems as if much of the work I do can be quite serious. I’ll be doing science research at the University of British Columbia one day, and covering a festival in Vancouver the next with a media pass. I’m “only 15 years old,” as some of my acquaintances put it. But really, I just do what I love.

And yet, I still find that my greatest achievements are actually the smaller things I’ve gained. I know when to say no – when to smile and when to laugh – and I have great relationships with everybody around me. I’ve found balance in my life, with my school, family and extracurricular activities.


For me, these things are some of my best achievements because without balance, I wouldn’t be able to do anything and be happy. As Henri Frederic Amiel once said, “Learn to limit yourself; to content yourself with some definite work; dare to be what you are and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not.”

Sometimes, you just have to realize that you are a human being. Live, laugh, love.

Having worked with an international organization like the United Nations as a teen or being the top student is nowhere as important as recognizing and believing in yourself, eating healthy and getting enough sleep. A good friend and teacher of mine always told me that I tend to put others before myself; I still do, but I’ve also started to look after myself –- if you don’t, how will you still be able to enjoy life?

The things that I actually take pride in are the seemingly insignificant things in life: random acts of kindness and charity. I like donating change to United Gospel Mission, saying thank you to people who help others and exchanging stories with people. Making others happy makes me happy.

Now do I completely comprehend what “success” means? I’ve done quite a lot in my short life, but perhaps my finest achievement was when I realized that I’d found a sense of balance -– the liberty to be myself.


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