What is success, how do you define it?

By | 30th January 2017


Contrary to what many people may have been led to believe, your success isn’t defined by advertising.

Many of the alleged ‘symbols of success’ advertised can be freely obtained through finance, so cannot be used as a reliable method to define when you might believe you have ‘made it.’

In 1879 Will Rogers said:

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”

So leasing a car like the one driven by a fictional character isn’t it, neither is a 2 year contract for a £700 smartphone, nor a payment plan for a £7,000 watch, etc. etc.

It’s perfectly ok to have those things if you want them though, but because you do rather than the ‘image’ you think they project.

The answer to the question is that it is different for everyone – you need to decide what success looks like to you, and to you alone, and then pursue it.

Perhaps, for you, it might be something as simple as what this couple living in Japan found? Running their own business they were able to complete their essential work for the day and then take time out for a ‘snow day’ to enjoy the first snow of the year where they live:

After building up 17 years experience in industry and practice, James started his own business from scratch in 2006. He now helps others to do the same, while minimising both the risks and costs. James is dual qualified in tax and accounts, and has won multiple awards for small business. In 2014 he was invited to Downing Street, as one of the Small Business Saturday 100 winners.

2 thoughts on “What is success, how do you define it?

  1. Brandon

    I couldn’t agree more about success being unique to the individual. I like to think of success as the accomplishment of value-based goals.

    Non-value-based: “I want a million dollars so that I can impress my friends and have the title of millionaire.”
    Value-based: “I want a million dollars because I value the freedom to travel that it will bring to my life.”

    I feel like if I set a goal that isn’t linked to a personal value then I’m way less likely to achieve it.

    1. James McBrearty Post author

      Thanks Brandon, yes that’s an important distinction.

      Someone locally told a friend that they had to have a new Range Rover every year – for the sole reason that they couldn’t stand the shame of driving a car more than a year old!!!

      Having expensive things is ok, as long as they don’t have you.


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