Whos Success

“The lack of clearly defined success is what keeps one’s dreams and happiness just out of reach of their reality.”

Think about the goals you’re running like crazy to accomplish. Think of the promotion you want. The job you’d love. The cars, the houses, all of it.

What are you chasing?

The thing is most people know what they’re chasing but few people know why they’re chasing it.

Is it because those are things that mean something to you or is it just because they mean something to those around you?

When was the last time you sat down to define what success really means for you?

It’s so easy to get caught up in societies definition… That’s usually the money, the paycheck, the status, the title, the clout. After all, it’s the only thing that can easily be compared, so it’s the thing that get’s talked about. My last year at university all people wanted to know was what the job paid and was it a name that everyone knew. There was no talk of whether it was something they actually wanted or something they were good at.

For most of us that comparison stuck.

So we forever adopt, often unconsciously, someone else’s definition and claim it as our own. Then we start to base our biggest life decisions accordingly.

All of a sudden we are busting our ass to live societies dreams, giving no thought to our own.

Is it any surprise why so many people can’t get a grasp on their passion, let alone live it?

Our surroundings are dictating so much of what we decide is correct. And most the time those around us don’t have a clue why they’re following it either. The blind continues to lead the blind.

The problem is that you’ll spend your whole life going after things you never genuinely wanted in the first place. Do you know how many people become doctors and lawyers and corporate junkies because that’s what makes their parents proud? Do you know how many are pulling their hair out as a result? I don’t even want to get into the numbers.

It’s simple, if you don’t do something for your own reasons, you’ll either do it terribly, be terribly unhappy doing it, or both.

I am tired of what society says is successful. So far it’s resulted in the average person being overweight, miserable in their job and with no idea how they want to impact the world. Thanks but no thanks.

I used to live that way. I never felt good enough and was never satisfied. Comparison haunted me. A friend would get a promotion and instead of congratulating him, I secretly got angry that he now made more money and looked ‘better’ than me.

That’s no way to live.

Define your own success and nothing else matters.

For my first few years out of college I walked around mindlessly trying to accomplish what others said was important. It was so bad that I even envied my investment banker buddies whom made 100k a year, despite knowing that they worked seven days a week and spent the night under their desk more often than not. But I had no other way to compare. So I constantly felt inadequate.

Then something interesting happened, I went out and found work that actually mattered to me. Work that allowed me to use my strengths, to build things, to make a difference. It was a feeling I’d never felt (now it’s one I can’t do without). Suddenly I didn’t care at all about what my investment banker buddies were doing. It didn’t matter what they were making or what people thought of their title.

No one’s success is the same as yours. Once you take the time to define it, you’ll stop comparing to others and you’ll start working on things that truly matter to you. Life becomes a lot more fun.

Achievement is in the eye of the beholder. The longer we follow societies predefined path, the further we will be from living ours.

How to get started…

Every time I walk into my house I see a plaque hanging on the wall. It’s a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. His definition of success. It’s a constant reminder that the things the world claims are so important, aren’t all that matter. They are secondary at best.

I hope he inspires you to define yours:

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent

people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation

of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to

appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the

world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,

or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has

breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

But wait, he forgot to mention the money part!

It’s so easy to take a look at someone who has what looks like a meaningless job or hardly any money and think they’re nowhere. But who are we to judge? They might be at the top of their world because they put first things first and set themselves up to win. The world envy’s the outcast. They just don’t know how to express it.

Success is not found in getting the most prestigious job, biggest paycheck or working more hours than you thought existed. Just because we’ve been brainwashed, doesn’t make it correct.

All of us have different paths to walk. We need to start acting like it.

Stop changing who you are to succeed.

Real success comes from inside. From knowing you are living who you are and doing your part.

But first you must unfollow the crowd.

It’s time we redefine what matters.

In two sentences or less, what’s your definition of success? Please share in the comments below. Inspire us!


  • John Beadle

    I think this is an issue most people struggle with (although some may not be conscious of it), and it’s extremely hard to go against public opinion. I love asking myself “What would I do if money was no obstacle?” and try to model my current life around the answer (it’s funny to see that I do most of those things already). I also strongly believe that friends and family play a huge role in your happiness and success, it’s important not to take your relationships for granted.

    I’d love to hear what you’ve done (career path/projects) since college Scott. Do you have any posts on your site that tell your full story?

    • Scott

      Right on John! Family and relationships are where it all starts and finishes. I try to never forget that, no matter what I try to go after. And yes I do have a write up about what I’ve done since university. Have a look at the about page: http://liveyourlegend.net/about/about-scott/

  • http://www.busyjack.com George Mihaly

    At this point in time, success is being excited to wake up every morning and being able to share that excitement with others. Great post Scott! -George-

    • Scott

      I love it! That’s what we’re all going for here at Live Your Legend!

  • http://www.stringloveguitar.com Matt Coffman

    Thank you for the great post, Scott.

    I volunteered in a hospice for a couple years, and during that time I encountered several people who had come to the end of their lives far sooner than they’d expected.

    The regrets I heard always had to do with not giving more love or following the things that mattered most to that person. Hearing these testimonies from people who were always dead within a few days or maybe a couple weeks really impressed upon me the importance of redefining what matters just like you explain here.

    Thank you for the work that you’re doing through your writing here.

    • Scott

      Wow. I cant imagine how impactful that was, but it is indeed the best way to put things in perspective. Always ask “when on my deathbed what will I wish I did more of?” Then go do it now!

  • http://www.joshcaan.wordpress.com Josh

    Hey man! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and just wanted to say thank you for the invaluable difference you’ve made. It is for brave people like you and Leo that I started to follw my heart.
    Success for me is living with integrity, happiness and abundance. And to sometimes realize that I’m happy to have followed my heart instead of having kept safe.

    • Scott

      Thank you Josh! Success for me is reading the comment you just wrote! I mean that. So glad it’s all be helpful to you. To big things…

  • http://www.thedynamiclife.com Hugh

    “Unfollow the crowd.” The best, simplest nugget of wisdom I’ve heard in a long, long time. And the rest of the post is awesome too. Thanks Scott.

    • Scott

      Currently my favorite quote!

  • http://raodentistry.wordpress.com/ Ritu

    A tad predictable, perhaps, but I don’t have a clear, written definition of success. And this is a good reminder since I have some major shifts going on.

    Regarding the post, two words:

    Amen, brother!

    PS: RWE rocks.

    • Scott

      Give some thought to it and report back so we can hear all about it Ritu!

  • http://humbleobserver.net Christopher

    Success is:

    1. Being me (RWE would agree that conformity needs to die).
    2. Growing and learning everyday.
    3. Achieving my goals.
    4. Enjoying every single day.

    Thank you Scott.

    • Scott

      Perfect Chris!

  • Aaron

    Success in two sentences for me is:

    1) Knowing that I am taking steps, day by day, to reach the goals I set for myself such as owning a business in the next 2 years from the money I’ve saved and the research I’ve done on the risks; and

    2) Knowing the few true friends I have who support my goals and encourage me to continue reaching for them when I fail to take another step toward my quest in owning a business.

    One other comment: The inverse of success is failure. I would argue that in order to truly understand, and appreciate, success, one must first know failure and learn from failure, before moving forward to define what success means for you.

    Excellent post, Scott!

    • Scott

      Agreed Aaron. And if you go after enough of your own success, you will indeed experience failure. That’s all a crucial part of the process. Embrace it and learn from it!

  • http://clingspiration.com/ Clingspiration

    That Ralph Waldo Emerson quote was hanging on the wall by a co-worker’s desk. I don’t think the sentiment was appreciated in that environment, which valued workaholism and prestige.

    For me, success is freedom.

    • Scott

      One in the same my friend! Couldn’t agree more…

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    This post inspired me so much that I wrote about it for my audience: http://evolveyourweddingbusiness.com/dont-let-them-define-success-for-you-day-27-30-dbwb/

    Your post helped me articulate what I’ve been observing in people around me for awhile. Thanks for another awesome post :)