I saw a post on Facebook the other day that bothered me as much as Starbucks' red cups are bothering Donald Trump. The caption simply stated, "Dream until your dream comes true." Now, I know this comes from the famous Aerosmith song, Dream On, but I realized that there are actually people who believe success is something given to you, not earned. In this three-part series of posts, I will attempt to first dissect what people view success as, what you need to do to achieve that success, and lastly how to use success in the most fulfilling manner.
I first started to think about "what makes a person successful," and "what do other people define as success."
I started this not-so-scientific study by asking several people close to me if they thought Bill Gates was successful. Without fail, every single one of the 15 people I asked stated that they though Bill Gates was a successful person. Although, not everybody could agree on why. Some of the answers I got included:
In the next part of my pretend psychological study, I asked people about a controversial celebrity who also has a good deal of wealth attributed to his name, Charlie Sheen. With a net worth of $150 million, Sheen's wealth is peanuts to that of Bill Gates, but the concept of seemingly unbelievable wealth, to most Americans, is the same in both cases. A majority of the 15 people I asked, 10 to be exact, said that Charlie Sheen was not successful. Although he had the wealth, many people attributed the fact that he wasn't successful to his excessive alcoholism and drug abuse, the fact that he's been married and divorced three times, and that his life has seemingly fallen apart. Others, those who said Sheen was successful, stated that his luxurious lifestyle was a product of his success, and therefore he was successful.
What I found really interesting about this little experiment is that people don't really think of success in the same way. Your feeling of success is completely relative to how you perceive it. For some, that might mean being in a position of authority, others it might be reaching a certain yearly income, being able to give away a certain amount of money, or maybe for some, being an influence to change a problem you see in the world. Whatever the case may be for you, your definition of success most likely varies widely from the person sitting next to you.
So, what's the benchmark of achievement you need to hit in order to be successful? Well, that's really up to you.
Be looking out for Part II coming soon, "The Only Thing Standing Between You and Your Dreams."