What Does Success Mean To You?

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about my career. Is what I do now, what I want to do for the rest of my life? If look at my skill sets, it does suit me well. I also love the industry I’m in. But I couldn’t help but feel that something is missing.

I was under the impression that career = skill + passion + luck (or as Malcolm Gladwell likes to call it, planned happenstance.)

But I recently realized that I left an important part of the equation out. It has to do with how I view success — what gives me a sense of accomplishment. The thirst for accomplishment can someone overcome their limits.

Society dictates that success equals having a certain level of material wealth, power and authority. While it may be true for some people, (and while it would be nice for me to have that too,) these things aren’t going to truly make me feel accomplished. I can’t help but think, “so what?” and “what comes after this?”.

Deep down inside me, I’ve always known answer but have refused to admit to it because I think my definition of success is something society would probably categorize as childish.

So, the other week, I bought this career astrological report. And there it was — my definition of success, the one I spent my whole life running away from, on the first line.

Success, for you, means making a definite mark on the world.

It even goes on to say what I couldn’t articulate:

It is not material gain which motivates this deep ambition, nor simple vanity or desire for superficial status. It is a deep impulse to define yourself through your ability to make some kind of real and valuable change in the outer world through the exercise of your talents and abilities. Don’t try to hide from this impulse because you think it is “selfish”, or avoid its call because you are afraid of failure. You might be materially advantaged in a well-paying job, but you will not feel your life has purpose or meaning unless you know you have the power to make some small change in the world into which you were born.

(Let’s leave the credibility of astrology for another discussion.)

Childish as it is, I’m not impractical. I do realize that this is not something that I can accomplish overnight. In fact, I’m still very far from this.

But by publicly admitting it, I’m now one step closer to my calling — whatever it may be.

So, what does success mean to you?