“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” ~ John Wooden

My brother and I were driving home the other day and I intentionally pressed “Play” on the song M.I.L.F. by Fergie and unintentionally pressed “Play” on the conversation that led to this post.

Brother: *Looks at the radio then looks at me then continues with his business*

Me: I am conflicted by the fact that I like this song. 

Brother: *looks at me with mild interest*

Me: I like that it is one of the first songs that speaks to the sexiness and beauty of older, successful women. On the other hand,… well… its called M.I.L.F. 

In his characterstic curveball fashion…

Brother: Is it possible that you like it because you identify with being older and successful?

Me: You might be on to something.

The light that typically signals impending mockery goes on in his eyes

Brother: So you consider yourself successful?

Me: I had never applied my mind to it but yes, I think I do. 

Brother: With this little i20 you drive?

Combined laughter..

Me: Yes, actually. Despite my little car, I do. I drive this car because I choose to and not because I can’t afford a more traditional “I have arrived car”. 

Brother: How do you define success? ….

How do I define success? A question each of us has to answer in order to know what our goals are. The definitions of success floating about out there are innumerable.

Why is that?

I believe, like Stephen Covey, that this is because success is categorically individual.

What means that “you have arrived” will be very different to what means “I have arrived.” Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” That aim or purpose differs from individual to individual. Take a gorgeous house set on prime real estate in the most upmarket area that sells for a premium for example: For some, success is owning that house. For others it is renting that house. For yet others, it is renting and sharing that house. For yet more it is living in that house with a spouse. For others still, it is simply being seen at that house. For someone, it is working at that house. For another it is knowing the person who owns that house. I could go on but I think I have made my point.

Granted, to most individuals, at the very least, success means money and power. Sadly, I am not transcendent enough to fall outside of this category. I simply fall out of the category of people for whom money and power are the sum total of their definition of success.

My drop of saving grace is that there are other things on my list that somewhat balance out my baser self. Success to me means the ability to buy accompanied the freedom of choice not to. It means remaining true to the principles I was raised with, despite the full understanding that I can choose not to. It’s the ability to provide for every need of those who depend on me without straining myself financially. It’s the ability to use my voice and my pen. It’s a personal brand that is synonymous with excellence. It’s the ability to empathise. It’s winning the love of a child. It’s nailing a new recipe. It’s continuing to learn. It’s evolving. It’s learning to do a sharp, crisp turn during a cha cha with your partner at full pace (Trust me. It’s not easy!). It’s a life with love in it. It’s family in all its bizarre shapes and forms. Its finding and keeping true friendship. It’s God.

Success is categorically individual.