Failing To Define Success


As a rational human being you should always be alert to creative shortcuts to success. Undoubtedly the most serious mistake people make is failing to define success in the most personal way. In this regard the most creative shortcut to success is to reevaluate what success means to you. Ultimately, you will make yourself successful or unsuccessful just by the way you define success.

More of us don't achieve true success because money seems to be the bottom line in our fast-paced, overly materialistic Western society. Advertisers, the media, career consultants, and society in general place a lot of value on money and the things that money can buy, which are in themselves associated with success. Humans strive for a high-paying job so that they can have power, status, SUVs, big houses, exotic vacations, and trendy clothes. These elements of success are supposed to make all of us feel successful, fulfilled, and happy.

There is a problem, however, even if people eventually attain the traditional model of success. When they do, many find that they still don't feel good about themselves. Now they are in serious trouble, because they cannot delude themselves anymore. On second thought, most people still can and actually do delude themselves, but it gets more and more difficult with time.

If you have adopted the traditional model of success, but are not happy and satisfied with the measure of success you have attained so far, it's wise to create your own model. When defining success, we should go beyond the normal parameters and look at what real success is to us individually. No doubt if we asked a million individuals, we would get a million different answers. Every one of us would have our unique version of what we would like to achieve in our lives.

So, what does success look like to you? Besides the general elements of health, happiness, financial independence, job satisfaction, and freedom, what other specific ingredients would you add to your recipe for real success? These should be elements that have not been programmed into you by your parents, advertisers, the media, and society as a whole.

It is useful to take the time to think about and write down the things that really matter to you in order that you can establish your own paradigm of success. With no personal definition of success, you will have no distinct personal goals and career dreams to pursue. Your definition of success may be similar to someone else's, but surely it should not be identical.

Once you have established your success paradigm, it's important to determine which elements are most important for your happiness. Then you must set your priorities accordingly. You must be reasonable in which elements in your success paradigm you want to attain. The extent to how achievable the elements in your success paradigm are will eventually determine how successful you become and how successful you feel.

Here is a warming: For some of us the biggest obstacle to attaining and experiencing real success is expecting too much. Avoid placing equal importance on driving a Ferrari, becoming a renowned entrepreneur, getting a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, learning twenty languages, becoming friends with both Donald Trump and Richard Branson, having a loving family, writing ten business books, and owning a twenty-four-room mansion as well as a vacation home in Monte Carlo. Anyone who tries to attain this much will likely wind up being a total failure at everything.


Clearly, each and every one of us wants to win at the game called success. If all individuals had their own specific definition of success, they could achieve success a lot easier and experience a lot more of it. Many could also escape the trappings of consumer society that lead to excessive monetary debt and an overly stressed-out lifestyle. What an incredible liberation that can be! As Christopher Morley indicated, "There is only one success -to be able to spend your life in your own way, and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it."




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