What does success mean to you?

I love this video. Alain de Botton very eloquently talks about the meaning of success. I, personally would not express my thoughts so well. I recommend you watch this video for insights on how our modern age might have changed our perceptions of failure and success.

Alain is eloquent and funny and listening to him makes you more relaxed about life.

However the most valuable part of the video (from my perspective) is where he talks about defining what success means to you. It goes along the same lines that I believe in. He underscores the need to define success based on your own ideas and not what other people think (that is not always easy since we are confronted by massive societal pressures, like family, friends, advertising etc.)

When I talk about setting goals, I emphasize a thorough evaluation of what’s really important to YOU. Setting goals will only benefit you if you really create your goals based on your core, based on questions like:

  • Doing what, makes you most alive?
  • Doing what, do you find most exciting?
  • What drives you?
  • Doing what, are you absolutely passionate about?
  • Doing what, makes you lose track of time?
  • Creating what, makes you feel like million bucks?

There is one thing I don’t particularly like about Alain’s presentation. He talks about unpredictability factor in life. And it is a fact: Life is not fully predictable due to accidents, natural disasters, diseases, unintended consequences of our decisions etc.

But we should not use unpredictability of life as an excuse for not setting goals and not achieving our vision for a better life. Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty in our world, but when you look at history of humanity there have always been those who set goals despite of fear, unpredictability and all the things that might go wrong.

Let’s call it a challenge. Let’s call it curiosity. Your goals might work. You might achieve them. You might discover things, that you don’t know about right now.

Yes, life is unpredictable, but great people will always keep trying. Keep dreaming. Keep setting goals. Keep applying a focused and massive action to change their life. It will sometimes not work. You will sometimes fail. But don’t succumb to the “Life is unpredictable, so I won’t set goals” philosophy.

That would be the ultimate failure.

I wish you are great.

Go for what’s important and  exciting to you.


PS: What do you think about the video. Do you see it’s message as constructive or destructive to human spirit? Please comment below.

2 Comments on What does success mean to you?

  1. A good video but I’m with you – success is self-defined. If we as people continue with the traditional definitions placed upon us by society we’re going to continue to be disappointed.

    Why do we need all the stuff? Why do we need the 9-5 job for 30+ years? I know people that have all that and hate life. I have neither and am happy as hell.

    Failure is not a black and white issue either, and yes, shit happens. In the immortal words of Dennis Leary, “Life ain’t fair get a fucking helmet.” We cannot let fear of the unknown or the unpredictability of certain parts of life hold us back from achieving our true potential, which is more vast than we’ve been told for many years.

    Get out there and kick ass people! And thank you Derek for another motivational post. You get me riled up here.

  2. Thank you Robert. I love your comment. Once I posted that video and watched it several times, I have mixed feelings about it. I’m fascinated by it and disenchanted by parts of it.
    I think you nailed it well : “We cannot let fear of the unknown or the unpredictability of certain parts of life hold us back from achieving our true potential, which is more vast than we’ve been told for many years”.
    I’m going to post it on my FB page and tweet it with proper credit, if you don’t mind.
    Stay focused.

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