What IS "Success"?
. . . can
you take it?
faithful, valiant, and well-scrubbed LiveReal Agents,
still searching for clarity
in a world . . . well, without clarity . . .
- we all hear and talk about it,
dream, think, wonder about it, work for it,
find it, lose it again,
- but to
ask the basic question . . .
what is it?
. . . because
we figure, if we're all searching for it,
we should first get clear on what it really is.
What Is "Success"?
Success is measured primarily in terms of wealth; i.e., success
means making enough money to afford the very best antidepressants
available on the market today.
success means knowing that
you can have millions of dollars
and still be a dimestore slut.
Success is something mysterious and intangible that we cannot define
. . . but should all be striving for anyway.
Social: A person's success is measured by their status
in society and their rank on the social ladder; the more status,
connections, or friends one has; the higher one's rank on the social
ladder; the more famous or desired by other individuals one is,
the more successful they are. (Examples: Cleopatra, Elvis)
Power: A person's success is measured by the power
one has over other people, the ability to control or influence the
lives of others (Examples, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Adolf Hitler,
A person's success is measured by the number of facts one can remember,
the number of concepts one understands, the number and depth of
knowledge one has on certain matters. (Examples: Albert Einstein)
A person's success is measured by the amount of beauty and/or truth
one can capture, create, express, embody or purchase.
T. S. Eliot: "Success is relative. It is what
we can make of the mess we have made of things."
Physical: A person's success is measured by their
body's physical health and vitality, and freedom from disease or
Joseph Heller: "Success and failure are both difficult
to endure. Along with success come drugs, divorce, fornication,
bullying, travel, medication, depression, neurosis and suicide.
With failure comes failure."
A person's success is measured by their attractiveness to and quality
and/or quantity of sexual
acts they engage in or relationships they have.
A person's success is measured by their ability to do the right
thing, or to do good to other people.
Hedonistic: A person's success is measured by the
amount of fun one has, pleasure one enjoys, good times one participates
Tennessee Williams: "Success and failure are equally disastrous."
A person's success is measured by his or her passing on of genes
to the next generation.
Mediocre: A person's success is measured by their
ability to just get through the day.
Psychological: A person's success is measured by
and emotional health.
A person's success is measured by the frequency or rarity of which
they experience fear, anger, guilt, anxiety, depression, confusion,
Hierarchical: A person's success is measured by
their position in the hierarchy; i.e., the closer to the top they
are, the more successful they are.
Gore Vidal: "It is not enough to succeed; others
Familial: A person's success is measured by their
involvement and participation in the success of one's children or
Acquisitional: "There are two things to aim
at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy
it." (Logan Pearsall Smith)
Philanthropic: A person's success is measured by
the degree one has helped other people succeed, or, by the degree
that one has helped something besides oneself, such as the planet,
dolphins, the poor, the homeless, etc.
Spiritual: A person's success is measured by whether
or not one has attained salvation, enlightenment, or degree of spiritual
maturity, by the station one has attained for oneself in the hereafter,
or by the nature and quality of the relationship with one's Creator,
or one's true place in the universe.
Maslow: To work one's way up a hierarchy of needs
(Physical, Safety, Belonging/Love, Esteem, Self-Actualization)
"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
Z) Albert Einstein on
Self-Overcoming: "The true value of a human
being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation
from the self."
Purpose: A person's success is measured by whether
or not they have done what they were born to do. (Abraham Maslow:
"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must
write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.")
Anna Pavlova: "As is the case in all branches of art,
success depend in a very large measure upon individual initiative
and exertion, and cannot be achieved except by dint of hard work."
Character: it is something that is preserved, achieved,
measured or reflected as a quality of your character.
Unique: Something different for every individual.
Common: Something we all have in common, to one
degree or another.
FF) It's a matter of
GG) It's knowing
why you're here,
and then living according to that knowing.
HH) ". . . all
of those gifts, they don't mean a g#$d&#! thing. And this dinner
doesn't mean a g#$d&#! thing. And the Social Security and pension
don't mean a g#$d&#! thing. None of these superficialities mean
a g#$d&#! thing!
What means something - what really means something, Warren - is
the knowledge that you devoted your life to something magnificent.
To being productive . . . and working for a fine company - hell,
one of the top-rated insurance carriers in the nation. To raising
a fine family, to building a fine home, to being respected by your
community, to having wonderful, lasting friendships . . . At the
end of his career, if a man can look back and say, "I did it
- I did my job" - he can retire in glory and
enjoy riches far beyond the monetary kind. All you young people
here, take a good look at a very rich man . . ."
- from the movie "About
Schmidt" ( - a movie which, interestingly enough, makes
an argument against this very definition . . . )
All of the above.
Some of the above:______________________________
Your Answer: ________.
When you finish your quiz, please pass your papers
to the front.
You will probably be graded, but may not be;
we're not sure when or even if you'll find out what your grade,
and we might know who will or won't be grading your papers,
but then again, we may be wrong.
Talk about it
How To Really Be A Success in the World Today:
What Nobody Else is Telling You
Appendix II: success
For about the first decade or two here on the planet, we're subjected
to years of grueling tasks and chores because it's supposed to get
us "educated" about how to live in this crazy world.
It often seems that our educators think that the key
to success in life is forcing us to stuff our head full of as many
facts as possible (which, most of the time, we forget shortly after)
- and that's what makes us "educated."
It seems to us that this whole approach is barking
up the wrong tree. In our experience, most truly successful individuals
we know of were not necessarily the best at dissecting frogs, diagramming
sentences, or collecting leaves. Rather, in the world outside of
the classroom, most truly successful people we know of were skilled
in a whole range of other areas - such as, for example, emotional
intelligence, they were very skilled in the areas of relationships,
they knew how to deal with stress,
had a lot of insight into character,
understood a great deal about "love,"
and things like that . . . all stuff that were never really taught
So, where can you go to get an education about things
that really matter?
Well, it starts with the letter "L"
. . .
Appendix IV: Is
our definition of "success" all screwed up?
Every so often, while we're busy doing what we do, we pause and
ask ourselves - "am I working for the right thing?" Am
I painting the wrong house, crop-dusting the wrong field, shoveling
the wrong pile, climbing the wrong ladder, training the wrong dog?
Sometimes a person
"wakes up" at a certain age - forty, fifty, eighty
- and thinks, "What am I doing? I've wasted so much time. What
have I been doing for the last twenty, thirty, fifty years? What
has it all been about?"
. . . not exactly a pleasant experience, but it's
one that your LiveReal Agents want to tackle head-on - by helping
sort out what real success is from what it isn't, what is worth
doing and what isn't - to hopefully prevent a few people (ourselves
included) from spending the little amount of time and energy we
have heading down a dead-end path. After all, it's the same basic
question - what is worth doing? Why
are we here? And what should we do about it?
. . . Questions your trusty LiveReal Agetns
are in hot pursuit of . . .
"I went into the woods
because I wished to live deliberately,
to front only the essential facts of life,
and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,
and not, when I came to die,
discover that I had not lived.
I did not wish to live what was not life,
living is so dear,
nor did I wish to practice resignation,
unless it was quite necessary.
I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life,
to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that
was not life,
to cut a broad swath and shave close,
to drive life into a corner,
and reduce it to its lowest terms,
and, if it proved to be mean,
why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it,
and publish its meanness to the world:
or if it were sublime, to know it by experience,
and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about
it . . ."
- Henry David Thoreau