Defining Success

After talking to many different people, especially young adults in college and university, I have found a common thread that connects them all. The thread is that none of them think they are successful no matter where they are in life.

The thing is they all have a similar view on what it means to be “successful.” Young adults think they need millions of dollars, a hot looking spouse, and a private jet. They think they need to be Mark Zuckerburg, J.K. Rowling, or Bill Gates; young adults believe they need to be filthy rich to be a “success.”

This mentality is brought out by the press and by Holywood among others. Turn on the TV or pick up a paper, and it is filled with stories about the rich and famous. They are bombarded by people who have fancy degrees and make seven figures. Young adults are told they aren’t anything unless they have those things.

It’s no wonder that large portions of young adults are on anti-depressants. Their definition of success and what is plausible are skewed.

But what is “Success?” What’s its definition?

According to Webster’s dictionary, success is the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. In other words: fame and fortune.

Young adults are also told that to be happy, they need fame and fortune.

Which leads us to the problem.

Young adults are told they need to be filthy rich to be successful and as such, to be happy. Which means when they discover that obtaining that fame and fortune is harder than expected that they get depressed. How can they be successful when the game is rigged?

I move that the definition of success is incomplete and reject Holywood’s ideals on what success means.

For one, I don’t think that money equals happiness. There are stories across the board of CEOs of corporations making seven figures on anti-depressants and ending up taking their own lives. I also don’t think that money necessarily makes life easier. It just makes things different.

I know many people making 70,000 dollars per year who still stress the same way about money that a friend who makes 35,000 dollars does. Their worries are different, they both make similar bad monetary decisions.

To Me.

To me, “Success” is a personal definition. The base is still the same as Webster’s Dictionary. But the precise meaning of how much wealth, favor, or eminence is a decision that each person needs to make on their own without influence by the rich and whiny.

Money is the means to an end and not “the end.” Cause money doesn’t equal happiness, and being successful doesn’t mean that you are rolling in fame and fortune.

My definition of “Success” is that I have enough money coming in that pays my bills and puts something away for retirement. That’s it. To me, that is “success.” My ultimate goal is that I make my income from writing and selling my books; by what my wife calls “wordsmithing.”

I don’t need to be as rich as J.K. Rowling or Steven King. Part of me doesn’t want that type of wealth. But that is a topic of another blog post.

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Disclaimer: I’m not talking down on the depressed. Depression is a big problem in society and not to be looked down upon.

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