Was does it take to be successful? Do you deem yourself successful? Presumably the opposite of success is failure and everybody actively seeks to avoid that – but what is success? As I continue to gallivant around the globe, visit new places, meet new and awesome people it’s got me thinking about the definition of success, and that perhaps the West has got it all wrong…
Away from the world of freedom, long term travel and working for yourself, there’s a world back home where some people work much longer hours than they want to, people have to deal with redundant tasks every day, micro-management, incompetent bosses, unhappy relationships and, in fairness, hefty pay packets. I know of people who drive Porsches, wear Armani suits, work in finance and dread Sunday evenings because they know Monday morning is but one nights sleep away – but hey, their Porsche is so shiny! They must be successful right??
What does it mean to be successful, because by my understanding Western appreciation of success simply means to have a lot of money. Forget good friends, nice family, awesome work/life balance, waking up with a smile on your face regardless of whether it’s the weekend or not – that, seemingly, only registers a blip on the success chart. What you need to be successful is money, and plenty of it.
I know that if I arrived back in my town in Ireland, or anywhere for that matter, driving a Ferrari with the top down, people who have known me for years would think ‘wow, Johnny is really successful now’. However, if I return on a local bus with 100 countries stamped in my passport, a second (or third) language in my locker, new friends from all over the world, amazing experiences that will stay with me forever but living out of my backpack, not one person would deem my life successful – is that the right way to look at success? Would I be more successful if I were to work in an office and be on first name terms with my bank manager? To be rich is not to be successful, and to be successful is not to be rich.
In my humble opinion success should never be tied to your pay packet or bank account. That seems all wrong. Success should be judged on how you live your life, what you do with your talents and ability, the experiences you encounter and the mark you leave on other people and society in general. To be a true success, I think you have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and like the person you see… and that’s a lot harder than counting your cash at the end of the month.
Lets not try to judge success in dollar signs, lets try to live our lives in a manner which makes us, and the people around us, as happy and fulfilled as we can possible be. If we manage that, then I believe we have found genuine success in our lives. Happy travels!