When SUCCESS isn’t real

What comes to mind when you hear the word success? Is it money? A dream job? Perhaps a corner office in a high-rise building, a supercar in your garage, maybe a garage full of supercars, a private jet, a stack of cash, 100K followers on Instagram? Is it a loving partner? A wife/husband? multiple wives/husbands? Children? A “successful” business…for who really determines when the business is successful? Maybe all of the above? Or perhaps, none of it.

And that is the point. Success looks different to each of us, individually, and to everyone of us, collectively. It changes as we move from stage to stage and from circumstance to circumstance. Indeed, what one might deem “success” may in fact be the epitome of failure to yet another. Success is ultimately subjective in its very design.

In the western world particularly, we have inextricably linked success to material things and positions. We have allowed metrics and analytics, that we ourselves have created, to be the determining factors of success. Is this to say that these numbers and graphs have no meaning, certainly not, but it is a lethal mistake to make them the primary determinant of something with such real implications. Here are a few things we believe to be objective about success:

  1. Confidence — The way it makes us feel if we are of the belief that we are successful
  2. Empathy and sympathy — The way it causes us to act, both to ourselves and to others.

The good thing about these two things is that regardless of one’s view of success, achieving it will have implications for his confidence, his sympathy towards self and his empathy toward others.

Therefore, I ask the question again, what comes to mind when you hear the word success? Is it something that when achieved will make you walk with your head held high, is it the continued pursuit of a mission to bring about a change in your own life or someone else’s? Is it the feeling of doing something worthwhile? Might it be that your success has as little to do with your instagram following as it does with the amount of wealth you might acquire? What if ultimately, success is not how much you get but what legacy you’ve left?