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What does it mean to succeed? Does it have to translate into material wealth? Perhaps it means being a good person whose life is filled with love and contentment. Or...maybe both, or more, definitions apply.

In Western societies, particularly the United States, people are led to believe that material wealth defines success. Sitting on a mountain, contemplating life, is not seen by the vast majority of Americans as a sign of success. Unless...you've earned enough money to do so! Hard work and/or innovative work that is rewarded by a substantial amount of money is recognized as the hallmark of a successful life.

When I think about contentment, for some reason fancy cars and big houses never enters my mind. I see a person sitting by a stream, the ocean, on a mountain or hillside, or...just relaxing in his or her back yard while looking and listening to the birds or smiling at their children and/or their significant other. Can that really be contentment? Can that actually be deemed success? Hmm...think about it. What do most people look forward to? Being able to retire and "enjoy" life...right?! Well, if you watch your resources, don't go crazy spending needlessly, ignore the cravings to mindlessly follow marketers, work at a job that brings you satisfaction, perhaps affords you a flexible schedule, you can "retire" relatively early - or at least semi-retire. All it takes is the ability to be content with a different kind of "Western" success. That's it.

There's far too much stress created by trying to strive for the portrayal of success as opposed to what might really BE success. Step back and take inventory of your life. You may have already achieved success and may not even realize it!
jwc
2/17/2013 01:41:04 am

Do you think it's wrong to have the idea of success as being able to compete in the global world, the ability to actually influence the world directly?

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Dan Goldberg
2/17/2013 01:50:14 am

No, I don't think it's wrong at all. As long as it's your true desire and not someone else's who has convinced and/or manipulated you to think that way. Of course, I would hope that you'd want to influence the world in a positive way as well.

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