A Definition of Success – Grant Piros Blog

http://grantpirosblog.com/a-definition-of-success/

What does it mean to be successful?

As a teacher, I spend a lot of time preparing students to “be successful in life”.

Sometimes they mistake this for only following one path: go to college and get a stable job.

I’ve had students challenge me, fight back against what they see as the status quo they’re being guided towards. It’s pushed me to really think about what I means when I say I want them to be “successful”.

The best definition I’ve found so far comes from Derek Sivers. This author, speaker, musician, former circus performer and self-proclaimed “student of life”, provides his thoughts on success in a Tim Ferriss podcast interview.

He starts with an example of a well-known successful person: Richard Branson, founder of over 400 companies with a net worth of 5.1 billion. He then asks the question:

“What if Richard Branson’s goal was to lead a quiet life but, like a compulsive gambler, he couldn’t stop creating companies. Is that still success?”

This raises the point that many struggle to understand: success is about more than just external factors of money and fame, the internal matters too.

From this, Sivers offers us a two parted definition of success:

  1. Master your emotions and actions – Internal happiness and meeting your own goals is the most important first step towards success.
  2. Help lots of people – Money doesn’t make you successful but helping others is the key. The more you help, the more successful, as long as #1 is met.

With this as a definition, Sivers tells us to focus on developing four skills:

  1. Mastering your emotions.
  2. Knowing what other people want in general and what you want in specific.
  3. People skills so you can see things from others perspectives and communicate with them.
  4. The ability to focus, to learn and to apply what you learn.

These are skills that are hard to master, but that’s why success is a goal worth pursuing.

Think about how you model these. Think about how you teach them. But more importantly, think about what success means to you.