Talk About Success Again

Jason from Live Debt Free (2015/11/15: link removed per request) left me this thoughtful comment that provoked me to revisit my thought on success.

In today’s fast world where life seems to spin out of our control, the term “success” has become synonomous with money and power. But is success all about how many yachts you owe or how much you spend at a holiday in Greece? I am left wondering….does success revolve around only achievements we achieve in terms of money, comfort, status or power? We were taught in the school and were told that success is about making a diffrence! No matter how small that difference is ………. if you can make a disheartened person laugh the consider it as your success.

I think Jason has just spoken the mind of thousands. There is no class on success in curriculum. There is no century-old stone tablet that explains success for us. Our parents didn’t tell us what it really is, and who could blame them because our grandparents probably didn’t tell them either. Even so, since the moment you cry your first sound in this world, you are expected to succeed. Overtime, you expect yourself to succeed. These silent expectations drive you to succeed. As to what exactly is this success that we so badly need to achieve, it is never quite clear. It’s a real bummer because most of us end up just going with the flow. What flow? The flow of society…

Ah, the wonderful flow of society… What does current society tell us about success? Nothing afar the fact that you need have this and you need to have that… all these things… a giganto McMansion, sports car, designer clothings, a yacht, iPhone, etc. The list goes on and on. Once you own all these THINGS, then you will have succeeded. Then you will be happy. To obtain these things, you need money, and so you work your tails off. As such, you become so busy hoarding money and things. No, there is no time to think. You must work and worry about money continuously. You cannot waste time thinking about what success really means and why you are feeding the economy… mindlessly.

We are never going to own EVERYTHING, nor are we to own many of the things we are told we should own. Does that mean no sucess for us? Does that mean no happiness for us? Like the Nazi used to say, “No Soup for You!” That’s kinda sad.

Fortunately for us, success isn’t about bank account, stock options, big houses, half a dozen yachts…

In my post a year ago, I couldn’t quite provide a fully concrete outline of what I think success is besides stating the need for continuous self-improvement in various areas in life. I will take a crack at it again today and give you the benefit (or handicap?) of my thought :)

Success in life is ultimately happiness.

Whether you like it or not, every action that people take, is directly or indirectly an attempt to achieve happiness. And your priorities in life has everything to do with happiness. Happiness is base on your priorities in life. It is about understanding yourself and knowing what are the important things to you. The final step to success then, is once again my proclamation of self-improvement, where you spend your time and effort in improving in areas that fit your priorities.

Base on this principle, our society has placed money and power in the highest priority. Shallow? Yes. True? Yes. Nobody can deny this. Knowing this, what you have to do is to make a choice. You can choose to buy into the society’s (broken) culture, or you can choose to think it through and act according to your own set of priorities.

Some help in defining your priorities is in the the post, Understanding Yourself, where I talked about “beginning with the end in mind” .

There is another method for which I don’t remember where I have read it. It is a little quiz, where you first make a list of 10 important things in your life. With this list, you need to cross out an item as if you can only live with one less thing each time. Repeat until you come down to one item. It’s a process that will surely make you think. Take some time to think through every step. Below is a sample list. Just alter it for your own needs.

  1. Direct Family
  2. Husband or Wife
  3. A Meaningful Career
  4. Friends
  5. Travel and Advantures
  6. Money
  7. Health
  8. Power
  9. Personal Passion
  10. Respect and Dignity

To succeed, your actions must align with your priorities. Your priorities are your compass to success and happiness in life.

2 Responses

  1. jason says:


    Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Success is undoubtedly an intangible thing and the reason being most of the people do not understand what makes them happy in life… it a million dollar house facing sea shore or a simple apartment where they can come back after spending a tiring day at office and have a cozy dinner with their loved ones.

    I have also jotted down seven points on success in my blog. Do have a look and share what you feel about it.While jotting down the sixth point i was caught in a fix. Can a peron be simultaneously sucessful in two areas with out making any compromises? For instance can a woman enjoy her mommyhood as well as a fabulous career? A super mom and a super career woman – is it possible?

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