I found an old journal from 6th grade this weekend. It was from my English class, back when we had to start the first ten minutes of class copying the prompt on the chalkboard into our journals then writing a paragraph or so about the prompt. I absolutely hated writing at the time. Partially, because I loved an in-person debate more, partially because I never felt people correctly understood what I was saying when I wrote. The second journal entry asked what is your definition of success? Back then my response was to own multiple homes in various parts of the world, to make Forbes list of successful people, to have millions in the bank, be married, have kids, and be on various television shows.
As I’ve gotten older my definition of success has shifted I still want to be on various television shows and in movies that will probably never change – but I also think having free time is the ultimate success. We trade so much of our time for money to provide for ourselves, our families, get the next big thing, or show off. I think the true definition of success is having enough money to live comfortably, own your home, be able to work on passion projects like volunteering for charities you love, spend quality time with your kids while they grow up, having a loving respectful marriage where you both share the household work.
Over the years I’ve worked with so many “successful” people who were the angriest, most ungrateful, paranoid people on the planet. The kind of people that see others as stepping stones to their goals, unfortunately, every time they reach their next goal they are still unhappy. They think by making the next 10 million dollar deal for the company they will be fulfilled and get a pretty decent slice of the pie. Unfortunately, their idea of success keeps getting bigger and bigger. Three houses throughout the country, another midlife crisis car, frequent vacations to other parts of the world, a private school for all of their kids, college funds, and trust funds. All of these things are wonderful but can wear on one person when they are expected to keep bringing in more income every year to keep up with the family’s spending. (Lifestyle creep is real!) One of them admitted that he doesn’t consider himself successful because his friend has a net worth that’s 5 times the amount of his. They say comparison is the thief of joy and they would be right.
I think when we focus more on what makes us happy and excited, why we do what we do to make a living then we can appreciate our success. Instead of thinking of all the family members, or friends you want to impress think about what you really want to do. Where do you really want to spend your time and money?
What is your definition of success?