Defining Success

What is success? Well, according to Merriam-Webster, success can be defined in one of three ways:

1: obsolete: outcome, result
2a: degree or measure of succeeding b: favorable or desired outcome; also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
3: one that succeeds

Too often, it’s too easy to focus on the last portion of the second definition: “the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.” Really, we need to focus on that little bit right in the middle: “favorable or desired outcome.” While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making lots of money, receiving a great deal of favor, or becoming wildly popular, we have to recognize something very important: these are limited resources.

Fame is a limited resource.

Money is a limited resource.

That brings me back to where we started: what is success? Let me make this more personal.

Late in the first quarter of 2015, I publicly introduced GreaterUp laptop stands. This was a big deal for me. I had invented this laptop stand from scratch. I was the sole designer of a product — and it worked. I listed it for sale and then the coolest thing happened — people bought it. It’s here that we need to make note of a couple things.

  1. I had invented a product that worked (and looked pretty dang sweet, if I may say so myself).
  2. Other people thought it looked great and it would meet a need they had. Then, they gave me money so they could have their own.

When I consider these two things, I realize that I have been extremely successful. Not to brag, but I believe that the number of people who have come up with something truly original, have seen it through to completion, and actually sold some of their product is a pretty small number or percentage of the population.

I have fulfilled a lifelong dream: to be an inventor.

(Side note: most kids wanted to be astronauts, firefighters, policemen, doctors, etc.. I wanted to be an inventor when I was seven.)

Why make such a big deal of this? Well, I haven’t had a huge amount of sales. As they’d say on SharkTank, “you have a product, not a business.” Thousands of people have been exposed to this laptop stand and the numbers just aren’t there — this isn’t likely to be a mainstream product. It fits a very niche market.

Nonetheless, there are people who have believed in my idea and product enough to give me their hard-earned money in exchange for it.

And for that, I say thank you. Thank you to all who have supported me and have made me successful. It’s truly humbling.