What is Your Definition of Success?

06 Dec

By Jeff Smith

The moment has finally come! I have to come forth and let everyone know that I am clueless about something and I do not have the answer.

Let me explain. From a very young age I had life planned out. Graduate college, get married, buy a house, have kids. Yup, that’s the plan, and the quality of life that I was able to provide for my new family would be the measure of my success. That is, it was the plan, up until my divorce.

I now find myself in a place where I am battling this 20 year old plan that, at this point in time, does not appear to be coming together. Honestly, I don’t know that I even want that same plan any more. Nor do I know at what point I would consider myself successful.

It is easy to look at a great deal of people in the world and say they are successful. CEO’s, famous actors or TV personalities, sports figures, etc., and for the most part they have had financial success and success in their personal achievements. I’m pretty sure that I am not going to play in the NFL, star on the silver screen, nor will I be running a Fortune 500 company in this lifetime, but I do know that I can still be successful. The definition of that is what is important.

So I start thinking, what defines success? Is it a number in a bank account, having nice possessions, having meaningful relationships, or having the freedom to just do as you please?

In the time that I have spent with my marina friends (whom are not your typical 9-5 desk job people), I have met some people that are amazingly happy with their life, and yet they have next to nothing for possessions or money. So that rules out that a big bank account or a giant house on the hill defines success.

I am also aware that many successful sports figures or entertainers live a very busy lifestyle. Take the life of a NASCAR driver. They have to go to a team meeting, workout, fly to a promotional event for sponsor #1, fly to the track for practice, fly to an advertisement shoot for sponsor #2, make a TV appearance, and on, and on, and on. From February to November, almost every day is planned out for them and they are shuttled from activity to activity, without much personal freedom to do as they choose. Yet they are considered successful.

After pondering this topic while writing, I will offer up my current thought: Success is being happy with your life. Whether you’re a poor sailor on a run down boat, or a high profile NASCAR driver on the top of the popularity charts, ultimately the feeling of being personally satisfied and happy is what counts. So now it’s time to get happy!

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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Jeff Smith, Prompts


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