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How Do You Define Success?

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The Dictionary Defines Success

The dictionary defines success as:

1. The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted. 2. The gaining of fame or prosperity. 

Recently, I have been thinking about success and it has been making me unhappy. I have been trying to define my success through society’s metrics and, like many other things; I feel society got it wrong. Spoiler alert: You probably will not make a lot of money, be famous or change the world….. But guess what? That is okay. Once you come to terms with this fact you can start enjoying life. Society places too much emphasis on the second part to the definition above: gaining of fame or prosperity.

The Society Defines Success

News in society focuses on prosperity and fame. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerburg, Miley Cyrus, and Kim Kardashian are toted in front of us every day and held up as inspiration. If we are more like these great inventors and celebrities, then we will be successful and live the American dream, Chinese dream, Indian dream, insert country dream here and change celebrity. The biggest problem with this is ordinary people buy into this news and they start acting like celebrities. Which in turn, turns them into self-absorbed, narcissistic, depressed individuals.  I say depressed because they don’t make it. They don’t invent the next SNS, computer, or world changer. They don’t become super stars and they don’t hit the billion dollar pay day. In reality they don’t succeed, not because they are stupid people or nobody likes them, but because their scale is unrealistic.

The Problem with Society’s Definition

The biggest problem with society’s definition is it is too narrow. There are a million ways to define success. Some people define it by the amount of free time they have to pursue hobbies, or the amount of time they spend with their family, or the relationships they build through work endeavors, or the memories they create. If we only define it by how much money we make, than many people will have failed at life. If we only define it by prosperity and fame, it is a sad society and not very accurate measurement because possessions can be lost or taken away and fame can fade. Think about all the “successful” people that lost everything in the last financial crisis. If you spend your entire life focused on prosperity there is no guarantee that you can live the American dream.


As we move forward society needs to readjust its focus, but that probably will not happen. Why? Because the powers that be, all 6 of them (6 companies own 90% of the media in America), they don’t want you to be happy. If you are happy and content with who you are and what you have, then there is no need to consume. So, what is the solution? Define your own success! Set a goal and complete it. Live by the first definition of the word: The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted. Stop watching the news and stop comparing yourself to others. Take stock of what you have and understand success is how you define it, not how your neighbor defines it or how your society defines it.

Personal Struggle

Recently, I turned 27 years old and I have been focusing on my “success.” The problem arose when I started to only focus on my career and not on my whole life. I have been struggling with my work life because I am not doing what I want and that was making me feel like a failure, but when I take a step back and focus on my whole life, I am doing quite well. I have a good paying job (many can’t say this), I live in the 12th largest city in the world and I have a beautiful girlfriend. I have no debt and I am never hungry (this could be a problem… Note to self: lose weight). I have more money in the bank than I have ever saved before and I have the opportunity to travel every year. When we take the time to look at the whole picture and stop focusing on one aspect or on the aspects society claims are important; we can learn to enjoy life!

How do you define success? Do you think society’s definition is useful/fair? 

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