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How to define success

How to define success

I had a very interesting question posed to me and I have been pondering it over the last week. 

The question was: 

How do I define success – what does it mean to be successful? 

This is something I hadn’t really thought about in a while. I reflected back to even a few years ago, I would have defined success as having a certain car, a certain house, being at X point in my career and making X amount of money. After some thought, I realized I have a few problems with these definitions of success. They all implied that as of right now, I did not have enough. That I am not enough. Until I attain those things THEN I would be enough! 

The next thing I asked myself: 

Who set this standard? Who said that this is the definition of success? 

We have all thought about it. We have all seen the neighbour with the nice car and thought gee, they must be successful. Is it society? Is it our belief that we are not enough? Have we created this environment of scarcity? 

Fundamentally, it doesn’t matter who said it or gave us that definition. In my opinion, it is WRONG. Success isn’t defined by materialistic items or numbers – such as those on the SCALE. We like those things because they are tangible. We can touch and feel them, they are easy for our brains to understand and to see a change in. Numbers on the scale go down and we feel good. We buy a fancy car and we feel good! We think they provide us with some kind of worth and ultimately success. 

So if success isn’t defined by tangible/material things. How should we define it? 

For me:

If I am HAPPY, then I am successful. 

If I am FULFILLED, then I am successful. 

Those are two things that are deeply important to me. Considering I am at a point in my life when I have never been happier, I have never felt more successful than I do now! 

Which you would think is strange to think about, as I work ~12-16 hours a day. Our business is still in the red. I rent an apartment, and drive a regular car. Based on the traditional measures one would say I am not successful, but I am arguing the complete opposite. 

That is because the materialistic doesn’t bring me happiness. Those are just things or a lifestyle that is nice to have. What brings me happiness is being able to help people every day. Being able to get up in the morning and be excited to go to work. To be pumped to work 12 hours in a day. To be doing exactly what I want to do in life! 

That is SUCCESS to me! 

Will the others come? Maybe. I may buy the car I want and the house I want, but if I don’t that is OK. I could make $40,000 a year for the rest of my life and if I was doing what I love and am fulfilled I can tell you I will always be happy! 

Isn’t that what is most important in life? 

To be HAPPY and FULFILLED? I think so. The rest are just things and numbers. 

How do you define success? Maybe it is time to re-think that definition?

– Dr. Dan 


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