Success: What’s it mean to you?

A Rock Star by definition is successful. If you are not successful, you are no Rock Star!Success Starts Here

But what is success? It is clear that the definition of success varies by individual, and successful for me might be miserable for you, and vice versa.

The definition of success varies by individual.

Maybe you go to work every day, work on ultra cool projects, and then come home to your wife and kids or girlfriend or boyfriend or pet goats, and take a couple of mind blowing vacations every year. Sounds great, but that would bore me – no offense. Success is personal.

It is also clear that success is a moving target.

What I consider successful today and makes me happy (and I’m pretty dang happy and feeling successful right now) just won’t cut it in the future. Life is supposed to evolve, we are supposed to grow, and success and happiness are moving targets. This is normal.

Success is more than just money!

Success is about money to most of us, but that is not all. Some of us have financial goals, but you can be making hootloads of money and be miserable, and that is not success (I tried it once, trust me!).

And I’m sure you can be poor and happy (I haven’t tried this though), but rich or at least well off or not hungry and happy is way better.

For some of us success involves freedom from routine.

It certainly does for me, which may be why I didn’t mind teaching infosec classes for 23 days and 15 nights out of 26 days, and then chilling out for a month. Yes, I did have fun during those 26 days (flying between bootcamps on off days) and saw lots of friends across the planet, and when I chilled out for a month, totally free, I did chose to work hard on a couple of real cool things. OK, I surfed and drank too.

Sounds better than “work hard – play hard” doesn’t it? But to most people that would be “insane,” not “success.” Like I said, success is personal.

Variety including interesting work and people is a part of my definition of success. I am very lucky to have worked and to continue to work with fascinating people, and my non-work life is full of very interesting characters. If you ever get a chance to be at one of my parties you’ll see a lot of variety of people, from 21 year old college girls to 80 year old neighbors, blue color, white color, hard core surfers, hard core endurance athletes and hard core coach potatoes.  Variety is the spice of my life, and necessary for my personal success, but perhaps not yours.

So, what makes you happy?

Do you have any short, medium, or long term goals? Or maybe you are just coasting on past success for a while – totally cool.

Just remember, once you reach your goals, your feeling of success may naturally be temporary.

Success is a moving target.

Or as my friend Rufus says, “There is always a bigger boat.

Addendum: My literary agent once tried to get me to write a monthly article on for Success Magazine, but I didn’t feel qualified.

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    • Lex
    • September 27, 2014

    I have a friend who lives in a van down by the river, at least that is where it is usually parked, who is one of the happiest people I know. He fishes like a mad man, it makes him happy . . .

    • Tom H
    • February 3, 2015

    Defining what success means to you is pretty important as you point out.

    As the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”

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