002: Definition of Success?


I know that here in the United States there’s this predefined, maybe unspoken, maybe spoken definition of how you reach success and what success looks like. First off, you’ve got to go to school and get good grades, and be a good boy or be a good girl, and eventually that will lead you to success in sports and academics and that will lead to a
scholarship to a great college.

So you go to college and then you graduate and you get a great job, and a car, and a house, and a spouse, and you continue on and you have kids, and get a boat, and an RV, and you save for retirement.

You join the country club and you just continue on amassing more and more material wealth. You take better vacations, maybe you get a second home, and eventually you retire and you spend your days at leisure and …

I question whether or not all of that legitimately equals success.

The reason that there’s a question there is because “what is the definition of success?”

That is a formula to one set of successful circumstances or situations. But is that your definition of success and is that what will make you happy? That is a different answer for every single person.

Some people are more happy doing one thing than another. Money makes some people happy and yet I know enough people who have more money than they know what to do with and yet they’re still working so hard because it isn’t the money that brings fulfillment.

As I look at my life and my surroundings and my mentors, the happiest people I know are the people who serve the most. And you don’t need degrees and houses and boats and RVs in order to serve. As a matter of fact, the people who I know who serve the most probably have the least, in material wealth, that is.

They don’t have the least in love, they don’t have the least in fulfillment, they don’t have the least in any of those things that matter to them.

So, as you’re picking mentors or choosing people to follow, I think it’s so important that you understand that whoever you follow, you’re gonna end up at their definition of success. And there’s so many routes to success depending on what success is.

As a parent I see a lot of different folks striving to make sure that their kids are engaged in every sport activity, and getting such great grades, and trying to teach them how to read before they’re age three. And I think those things are great and impressive but what’s even more impressive to me is a child who’s compassionate, a child who knows how to play well with others, a child who knows how to listen, who says “Please” and “Thank you” and respects their elders and respects their grandparents.

So even those definitions of success can vary greatly and I think that you need to be conscious of what you value and what’s really valuable. That’s awesome that your kid can do calculus and he’s only in sixth grade. It’s two bad that he’s a jerk and he doesn’t know how to share his toys.

We need to keep everything in perspective. Look at the big picture and make sure that we’re valuing the right things.

When we talk about retirement, we’ve been sold this bill of goods where retirement is all that matters and that you’ll be so happy in leisure and not working, when what I’ve found is that most people love working. Their work gives them purpose and their work gives them joy and when they work they help people and when they help people they’re the most fulfilled.

So as you choose who you want to follow and what your definition of success is, keep all of these different things in mind. There’s many routes to success. Maybe you go to college or maybe you don’t. School isn’t for everybody and there’s many ways to be successful.

Not every most successful businessman actually went to school and there’s many different jobs; You don’t have to be a doctor or a lawyer or a dentist or some sort of engineer in order to be successful and find material wealth and financial success. You can be so many different things.

There are welders who have six figure salaries, there’s so many different jobs that might be considered blue-collar jobs: I know many owners of construction companies who may or may not have gone to college but they have plenty of material wealth and they are enjoying much success doing something that they love.

So open your eyes. Don’t think that there’s one prescribed path to success.

The only probably commonality is that you’re passionate about what you do which means that you’re going to work even harder at it and overcome obstacles. Look for something that you love. Look for something that you want to do. Look for a job that is going to not have you dreading Monday morning but loving Monday morning.

If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Until next time.


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