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What is Success?

Many PFbloggers like myself like to point out the potential flaws of “success” as typically defined by mainstream society. We are told that success involves having a big house, a BMW in the driveway, a house at the shore, 60 hour work weeks and debt up to our eyeballs. Materialism is something that runs rampant and many people judge who you are by the amount of things you possess.

Defying such notions isn”t as easy as it sounds. I like being able to say I work in the Financial Services Industry for a successful company, and people seem relatively impressed when they hear it. What you do for a living is often one of the first questions asked to people you meet for the first time. As a result, many people correlate who you are with what you do. If you really pull away from the materialistic mindset, and foresake collecting things you don”t need and debts you don”t want in exchange for more time and the freedom to do what you want, when you want, there will be speedbumps along the way.

Some will think you”re crazy, others might think less of you, and you have to let go of the notion of “status” if you expect to successfully make the transition to time freedom.

I”ve recently been reading The Joy of Not Working and I”m really impressed thus far. I”ll be sure to have a full review once I”ve finished it, but for now I”ll be placing some tidbits in my posts along the way. Taken from the book, here is how Ralph Waldo Emerson defined success:

  • To laugh often and love much
  • To win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children
  • To earn the approval of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends
  • To appreciate beauty
  • To Find the best in others
  • To give one”s self without the slightest thought of return
  • To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a rescued soul, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition
  • To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exaltation
  • To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived

This is to have Succeeded.


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