My grandfather had a saying he loved to apply to just about every situation.
“Life is hard, and then you win the lottery.”
See, he did win the lottery after working his fingers to the bone for his whole life.
He only won $1000, but he had bought a scratch card every day for about 30 years and never won a thing.
So when he finally won, it was more of a joke than anything.
He was already doing alright in life – he had a family, a house, a pension – but he only realized that when his dream of winning the lottery came true in this minor way.
I guess it sometimes just takes a change of perspective. Or you can look for these nine signs you are doing well in life even if you don’t think so.
1) You’ve got your finances under control
If you’ve been scrambling to keep your head above water for years, you might not even notice at first when you actually get yourself caught up.
Can it really be? Have you actually got your payments in one time with room to breathe?
Have you even got yourself a little bit ahead?
When the realization finally comes, it can be a glorious feeling!
This means that you’re doing a lot better than you probably thought, and if you keep going on this track, you’re going to be doing better and better.
If you’re just experiencing this feeling of being caught up for the first time, congratulations!
2) You’re getting enough sleep
Sleeping enough is one of the best things you can do for your health.
What doesn’t it do for you?
It improves your mood and your cognitive abilities, helps you focus, makes you feel better mentally and physically, reduces your risk of disease, and lowers your stress levels.
But as if all that isn’t enough, it’s also a sign that your life is in a good place.
If you’re getting seven or more hours a night consistently, for days and even weeks in a row, then it means you probably means you have things well under control.
Because being busy and chasing deadlines can make you fall behind on sleep easily, and so can stress that keeps you up at night.
But when you have things together, you can sleep more and more soundly.
3) You generally feel happy with where you’re at
What does it mean to do well in life?
If you’re like my ex, you might think it means amassing a mountain of gold and jewels to sit upon and stare down at the world.
If you’re my mother, you think it means having babies.
Sure, money is nice, and kids are great for some people, but isn’t the best sign that you’re doing well in life an overall feeling of happiness and contentment with how yours is going?
It doesn’t matter what metric other people are using to measure their success or yours. The only thing that matters is the criteria you use to judge how you’re doing yourself.
And being happy and content should definitely be up there at the top of your list.
4) You like your job
When I was younger, I threw myself into work without even thinking about it.
After all, you get a job, work hard, get a promotion, get a raise, make money, and get ahead – that’s how life works, right?
But at some point, I realized that this way of thinking wasn’t exactly serving my needs.
I wanted more time to be with my partner, explore life, and do the activities I loved.
And I realized that my job was just a means to make money rather than something I truly enjoyed doing. I saw working there as a big trade-off – I gave up my precious time and energy just to get that cash money.
These days, I’m doing something else.
I’m doing a job that I truly enjoy, and that makes me feel challenged and fulfilled.
Sure, I don’t make as much money as I did before, but I have a way better work-life balance and am much happier!
5) You’re not stressed all the time
Stress is a natural response to tough, challenging, or even dangerous situations.
But our bodies weren’t made to handle long-term, persistent stress.
Our stress responses actually change our biochemistry, releasing hormones that cause damage over time and can have major impacts on health, especially cardiovascular health.
There’s a reason why zebras don’t get ulcers, but humans do.
Sure, some people thrive under pressure, but that’s exactly because they get motivated by pressure, not stressed out by it.
Whether you have learned to cope better with difficult situations or you have fewer causes of stress in your life (finances, family, work), reducing stress is key to a good life.
So if you’re not stressed all the time, you’re probably doing a lot better in life than you think.
6) You’re in a healthy relationship
Just so you don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying you need to be in a relationship to have a good life.
Many people live perfectly happy, successful, and fulfilled lives without feeling the need for a romantic relationship.
But if you are going to be in a relationship, let it be a healthy one.
What defines a healthy relationship?
All relationships are different, and what’s truly healthy is a relationship that meets the needs of both partners in a positive way.
Most people would agree that these sorts of relationships are balanced and are built on respect, trust, great communication, and positive effect for both partners.
In other words, a relationship that lifts you both up and doesn’t screw anyone over.
If you’re lucky, or perhaps emotionally intelligent enough to be in one right now, be proud.
You’ve managed to succeed at one aspect of life that eludes so many other people.
7) You can be proactive
When I was young, I had an amazing opportunity to learn how to canoe and navigate rivers from an old backwoods guide who was something of a bushcraft ninja.
I also think back on a lot of the advice he gave me and wonder – was he always being literal, or was a lot of what he was teaching me very sneakily metaphorical as well?
One piece of advice stands out in particular.
He told me simply, “If the river is flowing faster than your canoe, then it’ll be in control, but if you’re paddling faster than the river, you’ll always be in control.”
I think this advice transfers so well to life in general.
When you’re stressed out, struggling to meet deadlines and pay your bills, life seems overwhelming, and you can feel trapped.
All you can do is react to what it throws at you.
But if you can get ahead of the pressures on you, suddenly, you’re able to grab the reins. You can instead be proactive.
You can have time to think and base your decisions on rational consideration rather than stress and fear-induced knee-jerk reactions.
8) You’re not jealous of other people’s successes
As Kermit the Frog loved to say, green is the color of envy.
And when other people are making more money than you, living in bigger houses, and going on more exotic vacations, it’s easy to get jealous of what they have.
You might even be doing well financially but not emotionally.
Because ultimately, success in life isn’t about what you have but how happy you are with what you have.
When you’re content with where you are and what you’ve got, jealousy falls away and is replaced by magnanimity.
You feel happy for other people’s success and achievements, and that’s a real sign that you’re doing pretty darned well yourself.
9) You have time for yourself
One of the surest signs that you’re doing well in life is that you have time for yourself.
And I don’t mean time to simply stuff meals in your stomach and play a bit on social media while you’re lying awake in bed.
I mean real, authentic, quality time to do self-care and to do things that really enrich your life.
Do you have a chance to cook and eat your favorite meal without feeling pressured to wolf it down?
Can you easily portion off a part of your day to do yoga or meditate?
If you can, trust me – you’re doing a whole lot better in your life than so many others.
And being able to take this personal time has the feedback effect of making you less stressed, more focused, and more successful in the future.
How do you measure success?
Having what you need. This can include your material needs but must encompass your emotional needs.
And even if they don’t realize it, people who are doing well in life are contented and fulfilled, no matter how much they own.