Discussing success takes a bit of time for most people, but let’s try to put some framework around it today. Let’s start by asking a few questions. What does it mean to you to be successful? Do you consider yourself a success? If you do, why? If not, what will success look like when you have finally achieved it?
These are important questions because your happiness in life will probably depend on knowing the answers. Now, some people think that success means a wardrobe full of designer clothes, a fancy car with wi-fi hotspot, and a huge yacht. Others think that success is never having to work again after they win a few million in the lottery. Still others believe that success, for them, would be helping to find a cure for cancer or devoting their lives to serving others.
All of these folks are correct, if you define success as getting to do what you really want to do, doing it well, and feeling good about the fact that you are doing it. It is perfectly OK to choose a purpose for yourself that doesn’t mean a thing to the rest of the world. The important thing is that you have a purpose.
Now, would others want for you to have a higher purpose, a higher commitment to solving community challenges? Of course. In fact, most of us would find greater fulfillment in service to a cause greater than ourselves. But ultimately, the choice of what fulfills you is yours to make.
The only failure is performing poorly or haphazardly at those things you have chosen as being important to you. In the final analysis, you are a success when you are actively engaged in becoming the person you most want to be and doing the things you most want to do – and if those things can help improve the life of another, contributing to the benefit of society, so much the better.