Who defines success? Sorry, what defines success? Anyone can define success, it means a million different things to the same amount of people. For some of us, the meaning of success changes as circumstances in our lives do; age, abilities, etc.
As an impressionable youngster, I thought success meant living like a rock star. I was influenced by it’s glamor in movies and shows, and thought I should’ve been on the show Entourage because that’s what success looked like.
I’d bury myself in what I thought was real “success”; late night parties, buying ridiculous things, but figured out quickly that acting like I was immune from the rules of life only left me with nobody and nothing very fast.
What about once you achieve success? What do you do with it? How do you build upon it? I think the latter two questions really trip people up.
I’ve watched the merits of success tear families and friends apart. An addiction to the riches that success brings can become enslaving. It’s the “disease of more”; the facets that made you successful are replaced by the need for more money, more attention, or more toys. Once achieving a level, there’s no going back and if there is, then you’ll be left behind for someone who can deliver them to a higher place.
Success isn’t spoiling those around you with the fruits of your labor, it’s building upon the foundation that got you to that point. It’s strengthening the ties among the people you love, it isn’t to be used as a measure of status against other people who don’t care about you. You try to keep up with the Jones’ and you’ll end up trying to keep up with your sanity.
As I said, success can be defined by anyone’s attempt at achieving it. It’s my friend recovering from a car accident to regain her beautiful spirit, it’s saying I love you for the first time to someone and then hearing it back, or coming home to that caring wife and kids who know that you’re their hero. Don’t let anyone dictate to you what your meaning of success is.
I have a friend, who up until recently, lived a challenging life. He came from an abusive household, wife was a cheat, while he tried his hardest to please, which caused his two kids to stop talking to him and put him in heavy debt. Throughout all this, he kept his head up, hoping for better days.
Like success, you’re not defined by your failures, when it all subsided, he was there, ready to start over.
He started by fixing his relationship with his kids, he paid off debts by selling his home and settled the divorce to rid him of any negative influences, he became more involved in his community; reconnecting with old friends, while making new ones, including a nice woman, whom he now calls his girlfriend.
I told him how impressed and happy I was for him to be living a successful life. He said that he always lived one.
“Before, I had little goals that I would achieve, which I knew was helping me get to where I am now, although everything around me was crazy. The bigger problems resulted because I didn’t know how to manage them, so working on small successes helped me work my way up.”
He’s proof that success starts small, can be found even in the harshest of environments and that it can be achieved at any age, he found it at 59 years old.
People want to know what’s the secret to success and I usually tell them this; success only comes from within, it’s wealth that you can’t hold in your hand, but in your heart.