On Finding Success, and Why It Must Be Redefined

Success: an infinity pool in the Caribbean? 

Success: an infinity pool in the Caribbean? 

As a society obsessed with external validation and gross capitalist measures of human worth, it's challenging to not view success in an unhealthy way—especially since this way is so widely accepted.

Many see success solely as a result of wealth, power, and achievement, and not having these things as failure. From birth, these ideas are programmed into us, and can manifest in much pain and suffering for ourselves and others if they go unquestioned. 

I'd like to see the standard view of success tossed like the toxic garbage it is (safely and sustainably, of course).

This strict view of success emphasizes and enables a system that is destructive, oppressive, and narcissistic, and invalidates every being without the access or desire to participate.

How could a model like this be based on what is right or true or positive?

Material success is so overvalued that negative consequences are just plain overlooked—people's lives are ruined, habitats are destroyed, and whole countries are devastated by financial crises or wars—but when it's "just business" somehow that makes it okay. For the sake of the planet and those living on it, I really think we need to make a change. 

How do we do it?

We start with our individual selves. If you are a person driven by a desire for success, find your own definition, check the integrity of that definition, then ignore everything else. It's okay if your definition and others' are different. 

Once you right your own path you will be less able to tolerate and enable the more destructive systems and behaviours around you. Your integrity will guide you and positively influence others. 

Let's be honest. We may think that allowing a destructive power structure or economic model means we could ride it to the top one day ourselves—and maybe we'll even fight it from the inside once we're there—but what are the odds? More likely it just means we will be slowly crushed by it, along with the planet, people we care about, and everyone else.

Success should be about what actually makes you happy and fulfilled, and allows you to share that experience with others. Logically, keeping the earth (where you live and breathe) habitable is an essential part of that too. If what you're doing makes you miserable or destructive, then that is not true success, and why would you want it anyway? Just to alleviate societal pressures, or your fear of being seen as a failure?

You can do better. 

There's nothing wrong with being prosperous or recognized for what you do—money is not inherently bad at all—just be honest with yourself. Figure out what you truly want for this life, check the integrity of your plan, and be clear about why you want it.

Realizing your true underlying motivations in life can lead you to a huge shortcut to your dreams and goals, allowing you to sidestep much of society's traditional and difficult path to success.

Just remember—you are not what you do or own. You are not less than if you don't have a yacht. You are not a failure even if you never make a dime. You are just you. Just like everyone else.

For more on creating your own true version of success, read my audacious guidebook, Create Now

Rather than tucking it all away in books or paid courses, I would love to keep this information flowing freely to everyone. Doing this takes takes real time, energy, and money though, so if you would like to support this work you may help by buying my book or leaving a donation. If spending money isn't an option, that's okay! Sharing my work with your friends would be great too.