Redefining Success

So this post is partly to share this message and partly as a start to something really big.

I have set myself the goal of being on a TED Talk and this is the message I want to share.  If you read what is below and feel it is an important message please nominate me here:

So here goes.

I believe that it is time to change our definition of success.  According to, success is:

  1. The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
  2. The attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.

I agree that success is “the accomplishment of one’s goals” but it is the second line which concerns me.  That the “goals” which we inherently define as “success-worthy” are: money, fame, and power.

Beyond the dictionary I think most of us would agree that if a person is called a success we would naturally assume they had achieved some level of wealth, fame, or power.  But let’s start challenging that “natural” assumption.

I think we should redefine success so that it does not mean: money, fame, and power.  I believe we should focus inward on identity and purpose.

Imagine a world where people do not strive for power or wealth, but for self-knowledge and living their purpose in life, pursuing their calling.

Yes, one’s purpose or calling might lead them to become a banker or politician, but they’d do it not for the power or money which comes with the role, but for the sheer joy they get from living their dream-job and helping others through that.

Can you imagine our world if politicians weren’t in it for the money or power, if bankers  and brokers were out there to help people not amass wealth?  Wouldn’t that be a world you would want to live in?  Would that be a world you’d want to help create for your children?

How would our world be different today if Hitler had pursued painting instead of politics?

I am not wealthy or powerful or well known, but I consider myself to be a success because I know who I am (a fool) and I am pursuing my calling in life (to write), living my purpose (to inspire and entertain, making the world a happier place).

Perhaps it is time we all started thinking a little differently, changing the definition of success and changing the world along with that.

What do you think?

I have a lot more to say around this, but to hear it, you’ll have to nominate me for that TED talk and let me say it there…



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