Everyone seems to have a different definition for success. Maybe its because we all value different things? Maybe its because we all have had different experiences in life? The common ground we all have is that we all would like to be successful. I don’t know many people that would choose not being successful over being successful. I also believe that many people define success so that it fits them and what they are doing because they don’t want to be considered unsuccessful. Its an insecurity. People don’t want to work for “success” but rather trick themselves into believing they are already successful so they can rationalize not working for something more. I’ve certainly been that person. But what is success? Is it money? Is it achievement? is it finding purpose? Is it owning a business? Is it having a nice house in the suburbs with a white picket fence? Is it the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal? Is it all of these? Is it none of these? Is it a combination?
Let me share my personal definition of success: improvement. Success to me is improving. I am obsessed with improvement. Success to me is getting better every day. Success to me is putting myself in challenging and uncomfortable situations so I can grow. Success to me is not being the same person yesterday that I am today. I am not successful when I go a day without growth. Many people may struggle with this definition of success because if you are looking to grow everyday you are probably going to go through a period of time where you have more losses than you do wins and in many a persons eyes, losing is going backwards. Not to me. Failure with the right perspective is a win because I can learn and grow from it. I am a huge failure so to speak. I have gone through through two depressions, seen a psychologist, been arrested twice, slept on a friends couch for six months, sucked at relationships for a LONG time, and it will take me eight years to finish a four year degree. Believe me theres much more as well. But with the right perspective, I can and have become better from those losses.
I believe that when you focus on improvement, learning, and growing, the money will come, the friendships will come, the nice house will come, the achievements will come, the dreams will come. I think that when you know what you want and you are obsessed with learning and growing all it is, is a matter of time before what you want comes to pass. People tease me for how much I read. I read because I know I need to get better. I believe that what Ralph Waldo Emerson said is true, “everyone in some way is your superior.” I am constantly focusing on what I can learn from the people around me. There is something they know that I don’t know and if I ask them enough questions I can figure out what it is and become better. In the meantime, because I am interested in them, I can build a relationship with them. Some people gave me a hard time spending thousands of dollars on a trip this past year to go to a conference for four days. But to me you can’t put a price on improvement. I became a much better person from that event. That event was life changing. It gave me a whole new perspective on what I am capable of.
Improving takes real work. Getting better demands you to hard work and focus. Its not easy improving because improving takes action. However why I love this definition of success is because I am in complete control of it. If I don’t improve today, its my fault. If I improve today, its also my fault. I get to choose. If I have a day where I don’t improve, the great thing is I get to wake up the next morning, hit the restart button, and choose to get better. The difference between where you are and where you want to be is who you are. There is potential inside all of us, problem is that potential isn’t just discovered randomly. It takes work. I don’t know how you define success, but I encourage you to be obsessed with improvement.