10/7/13

After a fierce debate with a few friends I decided to put the topic that we were debating on here to get the opinions of those whom are active here, mostly individuals whom are very successful professionally and/or academically.

I took the stance that it is relative to those around you, the example I utilized was if you're raised in an atrocious area with a horrid socioeconomic positioning and you become a plumber as those around you head down questionable paths or work at hourly retail/service industry jobs you've done well. The stance taken against me was success isn't defined relative but in the abstract, arguing that the plumber wouldn't be successful.

Basically is success judged relative to those around you or in the abstract compared against everybody?

Comments (73)

10/6/13

obviously it's quantified by what others think of you - never mind what you want for yourself/what you enjoy - always remember: it's other peoples' opinions that really matter in life

speed boost blaze

Investment Banking Interview Course

10/7/13

That's insecurity not success.

10/7/13

Maherj1:

That's insecurity not success.


Sarcasm is apparently unheard of on this forum.

speed boost blaze

10/7/13

Magneton:

Maherj1:

That's insecurity not success.

Sarcasm is apparently unheard of on this forum.


Ya this forum is all business... No Monkey shitting around
10/6/13

By no means am I part of the successful cohort - as I am a recent graduate, unemployed and beginning my path toward "success" - but I've been trying to add opinion to topics, so I'm not simply "using" the forum for Information.

What constitutes success is totally dependent upon your own definition of success ---> which IMO is totally and subjectively dependent upon your environment or where your from, which is the stance your taking, correct? I'm a firm believer that your a product of your environment in the sense that although you are totally free to change your circumstances, it is no doubt ingrained in your character, morals, personality, outlooks on life/society everything.

I think that it is hard to ignore the abstract opinion especially as society is constantly changing but also constantly the same in many ways. People change over time - and I think that what you are exposed to early on will have a huge effect on the decisions you make and shape your outlook so much so that your decisions subconsciously stem from those experiences and ultimately decide the people who you surround yourself with. At different times in your life, the importance of the company you keep relative to their influence or ability to impact your decisions and ideas, will change.

Personally, my goals and ideas about success changed rapidly from the end of high school through college and I look back now and see that as my idea of success in terms of my goals and what I wanted changed, so did the people who I desired to be around. For me I got sick and tired of hanging with my "lax bros" all day playing FIFA (don't get me wrong these people are still my brothers and I am guilty of wanting the new PS4/GTA5) more and more each day to the point where it made me a little bit disgusted that they didn't have a similar progression. So as your ideas on success change I think you tend to migrate towards people who share at least similar or common goals that will resonate with your idea of success.

I guess in a way you really can't avoid being concerned with the abstract because you tend to have concern for the abstract on a smaller scale anyway. Ultimately I think that success is measured relative to your own definition and to those more directly around you and your peers at a given point in time. For the plumber, he is without a doubt a success - someone who is a plumber wouldn't measure their own success against Bill Gates or Elon Musk - they hang their hat on totally different things.

Best Response
10/6/13

I have a feeling this topic won't be taken seriously, even though it is an interesting argument.

My $0.02. I would take the position that success, as a concept, can't be defined in general terms, as it is different for everyone. Using your example, the plummer assesses his/her own success, whether based on happiness, money, or some other metric. An outsider might determine the plummer is not successful, but that assessment means nothing to the plummer, unless the plummer measures his/her own success based on outsider opinions.

Success can't be exclusively measured in the abstract, because there is no universal metric. A world famous surgeon is not more or less successful than a billionaire telecom magnate simply on the grounds that the surgeon saves more lives or the billionaire makes more money. However, there is merit to measuring success in abstract terms because virtually nobody would argue the success of either of these people because fame and money and prestige are culturally bound to the definition of success.

Likewise, success can't be exclusively measured relatively, either, because the surgeon and billionaire aren't less successful just because their peer is a former Olympian who personally fed 10,000 starving children in Africa, designed a colony on the moon, and became President of the United States.

It's at the "lower levels" that the definition of success gets murky, which is why I personally define success incrementally based on whether or not my actions reflect my beliefs and I am working as hard as I can to achieve my goals.

10/6/13

An American investment banker was taking a much-needed vacation in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. The boat had several large, fresh fish in it.

The investment banker was impressed by the quality of the fish and asked the Mexican how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, "Only a little while." The banker then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican fisherman replied he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman replied, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos: I have a full and busy life, senor."

The investment banker scoffed, "I am an Ivy League MBA, and I could help you. You could spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats until eventually you would have a whole fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to the middleman you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You could control the product, processing and distribution."

Then he added, "Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City where you would run your growing enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You could make millions."

"Millions, senor? Then what?"

To which the investment banker replied, "Then you would retire. You could move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

10/6/13

But senor...I already do that!

I think- therefore I fuck

10/7/13

I always enjoying hearing this story, it makes for a very powerful lesson but it misses out one very important point.

While the everyday life of the fisherman remains the same, he has enough money to take care of his lifestyle should he be unable to fish. A subsistence lifestyle is good only if you assume your surrounding economic, social and health conditions do not significantly change.

10/6/13

I would say that success is the level of achieving one's goals with regards to one's potential, meaning that success is relative, rather than absolute. Ceteris paribus, it is much easier to be successful if you are born and bred in a rich family, with your life pretty much set up for success, than if you are born poor and are on the brink of "extinction".

To make a familiar analogy -- In finance no one asks you how you performed in terms of $. You won't say: "I made $10 MM", because it would obviously be different if you started out with $100K or if you started out with $1bn... What people would most be interested in was how you performed %-wise.

Thus, I would argue that if one started off from absolutely nothing, and made something of him/herself (e.g. from born homeless to a financier in New York), one would then be more successful than someone who started off as a son/daughter of a magnate and just inherited a multi-billion dollar company. Now, an important distinction: The magnate's offspring would obviously be more powerful, but the self-made financier would be more successful.

Disclaimer: Just my $0.02.

10/6/13

Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be

See my sign off for further details.

"Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be"

10/6/13

Depends on the person.

I find it interesting that the OP's question what defines success: (a) how you measure up against people from your background or (b) how you compare to the broader population? I think that in and of itself (without passing judgement) says a lot about the mentality with which he lives his life; i.e., success only exists is on a relative basis.

I think there is a broad spectrum.
1. There are people that don't even bother asking that question because they're not concerned with success, period.
2. There are people who would be more concerned with what does success "look" like. I.e., they're more concerned with possessing the semblances of success, whether they are in fact successful or not.
3. There are people who wonder how have a quantum of success adequate to be considered "successful".
4. There are people satisfied by doing well for themselves... the example OP gave of an underprivileged person having success relative to his peers but not outside of the scope of his peers.
5. There are people in the 2nd example he gave of being successful relative to all other people, regardless of where you come from.
6. Then there is the person who considers success on an absolute basis. Accomplishment is only limited by the realm of the possible and not by what may or may not already have been accomplished by others. (obviously a much rarer breed)

I probably view other people through the lens of #4. I'd be fairly impressed by someone that came from the projects of Saint Louis and went on to graduate from college and have a well paying job. Meanwhile I'd be much less impressed by the son of a wealthy family who went to college and went on to work in private wealth management at a firm that makes money managing his family's money. Its dependent on the resources they've had available to them.

But I'd consider success for myself somewhere in between 5 and 6.

But honestly I think astronomically successful people don't even bother themselves with these types of questions.. ie what is personal success. I think the Steve Jobs and Elon Musks of the world want to change the world for the better and they are remarkably tuned in to driving innovation to accomplish this. Success for them is having that project, cause, idea reach fruition. Which is an absolute perspective. I don't think Steve Jobs would have been happy having made it to step 6 before failing and disappearing into oblivion just because everyone before him only made it to step 4.

10/6/13

I just want to echo many of the sentiments in this thread. I think for success one has to look inward. My old boss was a a real hitter (helicopter to midtown commute everyday)...he was one of the most unhappy people I knew, despite having more cash then he could reasonably spend and all the right social positions.

I think as long as you aren't leaching off others, meaning you pay more in taxes then you take out...AND you do whatever the fuck makes you the most happy...you are a true success. If that is a shithole apartment and playing XBox all day...cheers to you. You are the only one that lives your life. If you gain immense pleasure from that, you are more successful than 99.9% of the population.

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

10/6/13

From the viewpoint of our only reason for our existence, success is the ability to go home every night and lay pipe in a dime slam piece. If that's what your idea of a plumber is, sign me up.

10/6/13

All that matters is your own definition of success. The individual determines whether him or herself is "successful." Personally I would never deem myself a success because I would become complacent.

"He profits most who serves best"

"Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage"

*Mark 11:24

10/6/13

BEAST MODE BANKER:
Personally I would never deem myself a success because I would become complacent.
Interesting, even if possibly an unintentional point: I would also never consider myself a success. I might not consider anyone a success if they consider themself a success and it's also unlikely that I would consider someone a success if the did not consider themself a success. The conclusion from this is that you can not judge your own success.

So, what are you left with? I can judge people as successful or not based upon the criteria I deem relevant to their initial starting point.

Point is: I don't think anyone can declare themself successful or not. People can judge others as successful or not, but, of course, everyone will use their own criteria. Not sure it all matters in the grand scheme of things anyway, as there is not much correlation with success and happiness or contentment, since there is always someone who has done more than you, whether in absolute or relative terms.

10/6/13

I think success is compartmentalized. There is no such thing as "overall" success, in my opinion, which is the reason there will never be consensus to the notion that "there is no correlation between success and happiness".

I think of success in terms of "modules" in my life.

Got money? Financial success.
Great job? Career success.
Eat too much, exercise too little? Health needs improvement.
Provide for my family emotionally? Family success.
Never have time to play or watch basketball? Hobbies need improvement.

Obviously there will be trade-offs, which is why success will be measured by priority. Finding success in your priority modules, and then re-prioritizing as needed over time, will, in my opinion lead to a place where success and happiness converge.

10/6/13

I like this.

10/6/13

I'm going to be completely honest and state that success isn't something I've quite figured out yet.

Equities are for chumps.

10/6/13

In my opinion, you always measure the degree of success by looking at the capabilities someone has. If you have very limited capabilities but you still manage to get a decent job (such as plumber), do well, and you can keep up your family, you're reasonably successful. If you're a smart guy who had to become a plumber because you dropped out of college due to an excessive use of alcohol or laziness, you're a loser. Success is often relative in my opinion.

10/6/13

Doing what suits your interest. If you wake up and like what you're doing, you're successful. Not much else to it.

Investment Banking Interview Course

10/6/13

success is having a goal and achieving it...simple as that.

10/6/13

When the big wheel starts to spin, you can never know the odds... If you don't play you'll never win...

"I'm sorry baby, you were the Sun and Moon to me. I'll never get over you.... You'll never get over me..."

10/7/13

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
-Winston Churchill

10/7/13

The Greater Fool:

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

-Winston Churchill

How about from one success to the next without loss of enthusiasm? I find that much harder. Failure makes you hungrier. Success makes you complacent.

10/7/13

Marcus_Halberstram:

The Greater Fool:

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

-Winston Churchill

How about from one success to the next without loss of enthusiasm? I find that much harder. Failure makes you hungrier. Success makes you complacent.

Idk who threw monkey shit at this... Its a proven fact.. Marcus I gotchu with a silver banana.

Why do you think its so hard for championship teams to repeat? Why do you think people marvel at winning streaks?

Look at Apple... they were all that is technology for years and were exploding and now they are starting to lose their luster as other people are competing and trying to knock them off that podium. To win is challenging, but to stay on top and keep winning is the hardest thing to do in any aspect of your life

10/7/13

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/how-do-you-judge-success

similar thread here if you wanted to check past responses

"because I want, to fit, in"

10/7/13

Being the person your dog thinks you are, not your cat.

10/7/13

This!

10/7/13

I think the primordial essence of success is simply defined as being able to meet goals.

Now the 'controversy' comes from the fact that this is dependant on 'whose' goals they are.

I personally believe that having 'personal' goals and meeting them will make you feel personally successful (biologically you'll get a hit of dopamine+ serotonin), whilst if you meet the goals of others, i.e. it becomes a competitive pursuit, then that also can be seen as success, but that now you are exposed to others expectations (this hit of hormones is then based on your perception of other people's perception of whether you are able to meet their set goals). Then finally there's the 'universally' successful, and that is simply being competitive with the common thought of the day (i.e. success in the dark ages vs success now is different).

10/7/13

I've found success is a personal matter, it all depends on our own ambitions, goals, and personal bias. I know friends of mine who are teachers making 47k a year, married, looking at starting a family at the age of 24. I also know people in their early 30s who are single, no intention of getting married any time soon, put a lot more time into their jobs and make a much higher wage. Both are happy and live productive lives and I would define them as successful because of that despite their vastly different incomes and careers.

Is the guy that never gets married and ends up kicking the bucket with no family or friends but is worth $100 million more successful than the blue collar worker who passes surrounded by his wife, kids, and grandkids? I don't think that's a questions that has a definitive answer. I think we all have our own personal definitions of what success is.

Give me a kid whose smart, poor, and hungry...............

10/7/13

I just wanna throw endless monkey shit for starting this debate... Its a "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" / "grass is always greener...." debate where there there is no right answer and its all relative

10/7/13

Good to see Marcus posting again, I need to buy credits to SB that first response. On Marcus's list, I try to be #4, but I too find myself ultimately at 5/6.

Truly successful people probably tune out a lot of this noise. I'm not there yet.

10/7/13

"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." - John Wooden

Man made money, money never made the man

10/7/13

I'm not convinced yet that we technically live in a world with objective absolutes. People view everything differently than one another based on how we view and interact with the world. As discussed above this is due to a host of social and economic factors relate to your development.

I think you need to hit a critical mass in regards to people's individual subjective opinions on an issue to create an 'objective' fact. When enough people view something the same way, it can be thought of as part of our objective reality (only a fraction of the population will see it differently).

Defining success as your relative position to others is intellectually lazy. It doesn't require you to really examine yourself and your beliefs, figure out what drives you. It's much easier to make take comparables with variables that are easily defined and promoted by our culture as important.

10/7/13

Charlie Sheen is the definition of success.

When a plumber from Hoboken tells you he has a good feeling about a reverse iron condor spread on the Japanese Yen, you really have no choice. If you don't do it to him, somebody else surely will. -Eddie B.

10/7/13

Success is not what you accomplish, its what you overcome - Ja Rule

lol

10/8/13

The term success is so widely used in today's society, we have really lost the true definition of success. Success as it seems to be is widely associated with money, fame, prestige, and approval. The latter being he most obvious as "fitting in" is clearly essential to not only live, but thrive and grow successful in society. I mean who doesn't think that neurosurgeon pulling up in a Porsche in a multi-million dollar home with a Harvard degree hanging in his office, is the epitome of successful. Or that boxer who fought his way to the top, and continues to dominate with nights being spent with beautiful Brazilian models, closets full of Italian leather, and silk ties, and a garage loaded with Ferraris, and Lamborghinis at his disposal to satisfy the need to be thrilled.

But is this really who we are aiming to be?

This shell of a human being that's sole purpose is to obtain these materialistic objects, that will one day no doubt be nothing more than floating matter in space, that one day we won't be anything more than that.

I think success neither falls under money (which by the way is just paper used as an excuse by humans to not kill themselves over bread), nor does it fall under social approval. Success in my words falls under passion, hard-work, and happiness.

Stephen king once defined life to be boring without work, how long can one be on a vacation before the need to occupy time fills his head. No. It's this idea of passion that most clearly dominates the mind of truly successful people. They don't care about money, nor about prestige, they care more about going the next level. Achieving more, not for the sake of doing so, but from the thrill, and experience they gain from such an endeavor.

Working hard for what you believe in, and seeing the beauty of this lifeless yet full of life goal take shape is by far, the best definition of success that I can come up with. The happiness that you seek from the experience, the presence of knowing that you worked your ass off without any fear of failure, and to see that fruit of success in a form of achievement, is what every successful man in this world has aimed for.

You see, the people who do it to prove something, to gain approval of this "society", get lost in achieving what you really gain from success. The experience. They don't realize that the fatal mistakes they kill themselves over, are actually just another step closer to success, and really it's nothing more than that. They see success as a linear path, a path defined only by ups, and not downs. They don't see that it's not the end goal that matters, but the journey, and what you gain from that journey. Sure the idea of having a vision is important, but they never go back to the present, they always stay in the future, and see the present as a mistake.

If they realize that conquering the minute, not the decade, is really the first step, they will set themselves up to a much more peaceful, patient, and successful life. You see once you start conquering the minute, then you go for the hour, as hours pass by, you start conquering the day. And at that point, you realize that the battle is won. For then, you wake up the next day, and repeat the process, not hindering your will by focusing on small setbacks, but learning from them, and moving on, and as you conquer the days, weeks roll by. You see change, you see yourself getting stronger, better, more efficient. You stop with this thinking of constant failure, and start with this idea of a positive future, full of success and failure. As weeks roll, months pass, your hard-work takes on a real form, and you see a reflection of what once you were, you never want to go back. You keep failing, yet you keep succeeding, and as years pass, you realize that you are in that future. You are in that time, that you once sat at, and used to daydream about. You realize there's no point wasting time, wanting something only for the end goal. You learn that what you learned in these past years is much more valuable than what you achieved as of now. You walk home from work one day, reflecting over your past, having a vision, but not living in the future, you enter your home. Lock the door. Go to your bedroom. Lie down. Close your eyes. And repeat with arms wide open to welcome failure.

I think- therefore I fuck

10/8/13

The Greater Fool:

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

-Winston Churchill

This is actually one of my favorite quotes ever. I have it written down with a few of my others.

trazer985:

Being the person your dog thinks you are, not your cat.

Surprisingly profound, when you really think about it.

worklikeamachine:
Love it.

Tengo:

Defining success as your relative position to others is intellectually lazy. It doesn't require you to really examine yourself and your beliefs, figure out what drives you.

This resonated most strongly with me. I think the truly successful among us are those who tune out all the noise, reflect deeply on their goals and dreams, then focus relentlessly on working towards them.

Andy Dunn's article on Medium about his first three years at Bonobos is a modern-day testament to this. Arnold Schwarzenegger's life is a longer testament. Success is a matter of remaining true to what motivates you and dedicating yourself wholly and fervently to excelling at the things you touch. Those who are mad enough to believe they can shape the trajectory of their own lives (and fully live it out) are those who achieve success.

Unabridged from Arnold's commencement speech at USC:
.

1. Trust Yourself
Many young people are getting so much advice from their parents and from their teachers and from everyone. But what is most important is that you have to dig deep down, dig deep down and ask yourselves, who do you want to be? Not what, but who. Figure out for yourselves what makes you happy, no matter how crazy it may sound to other people.

2. Break the Rules
Break the rules, not the law, but break the rules. It is impossible to be a maverick or a true original if you're too well behaved and don't want to break the rules. You have to think outside the box. That's what I believe. After all, what is the point of being on this earth if all you want to do is be liked by everyone and avoid trouble?

3. Don't Be Afraid to Fail
Anything I've ever attempted I was always willing to fail. So you can't always win, but don't afraid of making decisions. You can't be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision and you know that it is the right thing to do, and success will come. So don't be afraid to fail.

4. Don't Listen to the Naysayers
How many times have you heard that you can't do this and you can't do that and it's never been done before? I love it when someone says that no one has ever done this before, because then when I do it that means that I'm the first one that has done it. So pay no attention to the people that say it can't be done. I never listen to, "You can't." (Applause) I always listen to myself and say, "Yes, you can."

5. Work Your Butt Off
You never want to fail because you didn't work hard enough. Muhammad Ali, one of my great heroes, had a great line in the '70s when he was asked, "How many sit-ups do you do?" He said, "I don't count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that's when I start counting, because that's when it really counts." That's what makes you a champion. No pain, no gain.

But when you're out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard. Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that. Now, if you want to coast through life, don't pay attention to any of those rules. But if you want to win, there is absolutely no way around hard, hard work. Just remember, you can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.

6. Give Back
Whatever path that you take in your lives, you must always find time to give something back, something back to your community, give something back to your state or to your country.

Remember these six rules. Trust yourself, break some rules, don't be afraid to fail, ignore the naysayers, work like hell, and give something back.

Most people do things to add days to their life. I do things to add life to my days.

Browse my blog as a WSO contributing author

10/11/13

Bit folksy but "Being able to have a shave and like the person staring back at you from the mirror" is the way my dad explained success to me when I was younger.

Success is often a non quantifiable attribute as it is relative. If you can like who you are, then you're doing better than some people.

+1 for the Winston Churchill quote. Who can't like a guy that starts his morning with champagne?

10/14/13

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

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

10/15/13

DBCooper:

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


^THIS!
11/5/13

Two chicks at the same time.

11/8/13

My goal in life has always been to work hard, profit, accumulate capital and use my life experience, knowledge and accumulated capital to help those who can't help themselves.

It is, after all, not the case that everyone is born into this world with the same opportunities. I was lucky, and I feel indebted to my fellow humans who have not been as lucky.

If I can manage to do this, and in my lifetime improve the world even just a little bit, I will consider my life and existence a success.

Don't waste your life only thinking about money and prestige

11/8/13

I have a better idea. How about guys like Theil just create scholarships, or help small businesses that show promise. What he's trying to do is buy people out before they even get started and he's missing the point: he's creating a system where HE is their master instead of debt. What Theil has accomplished is 1) ignoring basic psychology 2) creating a bunch of dropouts 3) further illustrating that rich old men would do better to stop promoting their personal preferances under the guise of some valid social theory. He made his money, congrats, now either shut the hell up or do something that actually helps other people. This isn't rocket science, it's not like fostering the next generation is some type of mystery.

Yeah people start businesses because they're compelled by an idea or want money. But there's something else.

INDEPENDANCE

I know many a person (myself included) involved in small businesses simply because I WANT TO BE IN CHARGE OF WHAT I DO AND I DON'T CARE IF I MAKE LESS MONEY, FUCK YOU, I'M THE BOSS OF ME, EAT SHIT AND DIE. I don't know how much more clearly I can say this. Guys like Theil should understand this. From my perspective, he's an asshole who's just looking to get a piece of someone else's action. If he actually gave a shit he'd do everyone a favor and either take up shuffleboard or start, y'know, actually supporting the next generation.

Boomers. When will you just die?

Get busy living

11/8/13

Success = achieving your goals

11/8/13

"Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning. It's about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn't let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasn't one more thing you could've done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart, with joy in your heart? If you can do that gentleman - you're perfect!" ~ Coach Gary Gaines (Friday Night Lights, 2004)

"I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."

11/8/13

Success = Money.

11/8/13

I just want to be happy. At this point in my life, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I have to do to get to that point, but I'm making good progress...I think...

11/8/13

success= being happy imo. most successful ppl = the happiest. so far in my life, ive put several things on the pedestal cuz i convinced myself that if i could get them it would make me happy. Everytime I do this, I sacrifice and bust my ass to get them only to realize they didn't do anything for me. The happiest ppl I've ever meet are those that dont give a shit about petty crap like what ppl think about them, how fat their wallet is, etc. This whole cycle has been extremely frustrating to me bcuz its like:
1) decide something will make you happy and put it on the pedestal
2) bust your ass and achieve what you wanted
3) realize it didnt fulfill you
4) become extremely frustrated bcuz not only did it not fulfill you, but the happiest ppl you see are those that DIDNT bust their asses. So you pretty much made all these sacrifices and shit to become happy only to realize that the ppl that are happier than you didnt even fukin do anything to do so.

Imma cut this short b4 it turns into a rant, bust just in summary let yourself decide what will make you successful, not society. The second you start basing your life decisions off of what will make you better in other's eyes as opposed to your own, you become like the horse chasing the carrot on the stick.....you'll never get it

GBS

11/8/13

Without financial freedom, intellectual freedom is mostly an illusion.

To a lesser extent, personal freedom is an illusion as well. One can voice their opinions behind closed doors (or behind an anonymous screen name), but sure enough, at 7am on Monday they all show up, regardless of whether they want to be there. This holds for just as many 500k jobs as it does 50k jobs.

Serfs.

What is success? Freedom from wage serfdom, or slavery, or whatever else you want to call it.

11/8/13

Succes = Happiness

11/8/13

Understanding yourself. Understanding that there is only the present and that you will feel pain/hardship/torment in the future. It amazes me that humans have no concept of the future, we simply think of it as some "perfect" time. We don't think of the dishes that will have to be done, the dry cleaning that has to be taken out, etc. I look back on 2 years ago when I thought: "dang, once I get to _____ my life is going to be so sweet," never realizing that once I actually got to _____ there came a whole host of other issues.

A successful life is a life of enjoying the moment, taking the day as it comes. As a society I think we have become so ingrained with this notion that we have to be perfectly blissful at every moment of our lives, that we can find the perfect girl who will complete us, and that our jobs have to give us utmost fulfillment. We never seem to understand that even for those who "have it all" with all of their houses, yachts, and sports teams, still have to deal with bullshit everyday, still have to put up with divorces, setbacks, and stress. No one in this world has it easy. (Although I think providing a basic economic level [around $35-60k/yr depending on the person] is very important for the healthy development of an individual).

Also, I think optimism and happiness and thus contentment has been shown to be mostly genetic. Some of us think we are successful if we make $50,000 a year and live hang-gliding and driving rusty hondas, while some of us won't be content making $500,000,000 a year and driving our Lamborghinis around the track every Sunday. Success comes at a price, and that is a feeling of success. Without the drive to succeed, you will never have success, but with the drive to succeed, you will never feel successful.

11/8/13

Success = (P - N) / O

where

P: Positive externalities (i.e. own life's benefit to others)
N: Negative externalities
O: Opportunities given to you

Implication: People who are given lots of opportunities need to increase their lifes' positive externalities (or decrease negative externalities) in order to keep their success ratio constant.

[Since O is often mostly unknown, Success' = (P - N) is a useful simplification.)

Positive externalities are generally things that increase other people's happiness, can be as diverse as:
(a) monetary donations;
(b) different types of work that improve other people's lifes;
(c) sincere emotional involvement (e.g. spouse, family, friends, co-workers)
(d) others

People have different comparative advantages, so try to find out whether it's (a), (b), (c) or something else.

This theory has evolved quite a lot over the last few years. I'd welcome more idea input.

When utility becomes concave
and outliers cease to be brave,
think of the CAPM twist:
that return grows as does risk.

11/8/13

^leave it to WSO to have the question "how do you judge success" answered in a mathematical equation, lmao. love the theory though, fuk it ill even throw you an SB

GBS

11/8/13

Success is a very personal thing. Yes, what other people think of you is totally irrelevant. And if you do care what other people think of you, then these are not exactly the things that you want for yourself. There are four questions to ask yourself to see whether your motivation is genuine. 1) Am I willing to put the work in? 2) Why do I want this? 3) How far would I go? 4) Am I trying to impress someone? Food for thought: http://www.pluginid.com/how-badly-do-you-want-it/

The only way you can achieve success is to first define what success is for you. Then take small steps every day to get to where you want to go. And success is not a destination, it is a journey. If you were too focused on getting there without enjoying what you learn, people that you met, and what you experience, the destination itself is pointless. I actually made a chart for myself which is similar to this one at: http://theibanker.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/w...

"I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."

11/8/13

getting to the top of mazlows hierarchy of needs (self actualization).

11/8/13

Finding a time where I am legitimately happy and content where i'm at (hint: this isn't likely to ever be achieved)

11/8/13

The ultimate goal is to be happy. Some people try and make a lot of money so they can buy happiness, which doesn't seem to work all that well. Success = happiness. Now, if you have children, that changes. You no longer get the luxury o being happy. You have the responsibility to make sure your children grow up and have the opportunity to be happy. It's really pretty simple.

"You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
"Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

11/8/13

For myself, success is achieving my own personal goals and being happy.

11/8/13

If happiness is a goal, success still = achieving goals.

A related question is: What is your priority list? Is being happy today more important than being happy tomorrow? Would the ability to change the world be worth personal anguish? Do you place your the well being of your family above yourself?

In short:
Personal happiness has a position on your priority list. Your priority list determines your goals. Achieving goals makes you successful.

11/8/13

Success = sex

11/8/13

Pursuing happiness often causes people to focus on themselves and those closest to them, and leads to something more selfish which in turn erodes at the soul a bit. People who become less selfish and outwardly focused on serving others, involved in community, and helping in their own way often become happier simply because they are not so obsessed with being happy and more concerned for the well being of those around them.

11/8/13
globalmacro:

People who become less selfish and outwardly focused on serving others, involved in community, and helping in their own way often become happier simply because they are not so obsessed with being happy and more concerned for the well being of those around them.

^This is not really the case at all. If you can't be happy, as in fulfilling your need first, there is no way that you can be happy with your life. For example, underpaid social workers or people who works in NGOs, like a friend of mine who works in UN, he told me that he feels good about helping people in the beginning. But at the end of the day, he still has bills to pay, money to buy a home and to get married. And those needs cannot be met just by doing goods for others, at the expenses of going after what you want for yourself.

"I am the hero of the story. I don't need to be saved."

11/8/13

^ Agreed with Human. You need to strike a good balance.

11/8/13

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11/8/13
11/8/13

"The four most dangerous words in investing are: 'this time it's different.'" - Sir John Templeton

"The investor's chief problem - and even his worst enemy - is likely to be himself." - Benjamin Graham

11/8/13
11/8/13

"The four most dangerous words in investing are: 'this time it's different.'" - Sir John Templeton

"The investor's chief problem - and even his worst enemy - is likely to be himself." - Benjamin Graham

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