Defining Success

Photo credit: Rob Shanghai

Photo credit: Rob Shanghai

Success is a tricky thing. Most people want to be successful. Many chase the idea of it their entire lives. But how do you define success?

Rory Vaden views success as something you have to continuously strive for: “Success is never owned, it is only rented; and the rent is due everyday.” By this notion, you can’t just pat yourself on the back and say good job, I guess that’s it. By making Vaden’s quote your mantra you will never allow yourself to become complacent and always want to be better. This isn’t a bad attribute to have. But, still, if you’re continuously striving for betterment, how do you know when you’ve made it?

The people you surround yourself with can have a direct influence on your level success. If you surround yourself with toxic people, personal success will be an uphill battle. As Jim Rohn put it, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you spend your time with successful people, you’ll be a successful person. If you spend your time with deadbeats, you’ll be a deadbeat.

But I think one of the most profound definitions of success is an anecdote I heard about the musician (and international party ambassador) Andrew WK. An aspiring musician asked him how to become a successful musician. Andrew WK asked the man if he plays music every day. The man replied, yes. Andrew WK asked him if he loves playing music and is passionate about music. The man again replied, yes. To that, Andrew WK concluded, then you’re a successful musician.

There is no straight path to being successful. For Rory Vaden, success is something you have to work at every day. For Jim Rohn, having a seat at the table with people you deem successful is a badge of achievement and can be viewed as having made it. For Andrew WK, knowing that you’re doing something you love every day is confirmation enough that you’re a success. How do you define success? Are you a Vaden, a Rohn, or a WK?

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