What are the Characteristics of True Success?

With each passing birthday, I am struck by the gaps between the life I had once envisioned and the life I am living. This had led me to attempt a better definition of success than the one I had before.

note: this is a special web-only bonus chapter and won’t be appearing in the actual book.

With each passing birthday, I am struck by the gaps between the life I had once envisioned and the life I am living. This had led me to attempt a better definition of success than the one I had before.

At one point, I viewed “success” primarily in terms of material accomplishments, or trophies of various kinds I could point to in my life as a sign that I was successful.

But I’ve now realized that I need a different version of success – one that fits my life every day, no matter how that day turns out. One that gives me a strong internal compass through life’s twists and turns, without bashing myself when things don’t go my way.

I realized I needed to consciously redefine success and give myself something to aspire to that is more closely tied to what I truly admire in other people and try to foster in myself.

What I came up with was a list of characteristics I could try to cultivate no matter what was going on in my life or how difficult certain periods had become. Ironically enough, some of the things on the following list, such as “has line in sand (can’t be bought for a price)” actually, in some cases, openly conflict with a path towards an easier and more conventional success. Those are not easy dilemmas.

So it may be possible that aspiring to “true success” actually makes other “less true” forms of success more difficult to come by. Maybe that would explain why it’s so difficult to find success on all the levels we seek. We hear all the time about celebrities who are having massive personal struggles despite the superficial “success” they have achieved.

One thing I really go after in my book is the polarized and inaccurate cliches about success that you run into. There is still a widespread belief that any kind of significant professional success involves some level of corruption. I also run into a lot of people who think that there is no way to achieve financial success without undue compromise. If only there were such an easy rationalization for our shortcomings.

The truth is that you can find success on your own terms, but it’s a much tougher accomplishment than setting out to make money no matter what compromises that may entail.

With my book almost complete, I have decided to add this kind of content to this web site until the book is out. I wanted to share this list because I personally find too many people worry about being nice, fitting in, and pursuing a much more conventional form of success than would truly suit them. So maybe there are others who believe that life is about pushing the envelope and not just being nice and behaving well, but aggressively pursuing a path to unleash their best selves into this messed-up world.

What I found after doing this list is that it’s way more personal than I was expecting, so much so that I held off on publishing it for a pretty long time.

So, in a strange way, this list has become the most personal thing on this site. I hope it is not too generic and that you find it thought-provoking. I tried to keep the list as concise as possible by focusing only on the most important aspects. Please email me your feedback.

“Characteristics of True Success” List

  • fierce and passionate conviction
  • has line in sand (can’t be bought for a price)
  • dedicated to self-care and emotional/physical well-being
  • working towards biggest dreams, dreams still alive in head and heart
  • clear and deep self-knowledge
  • lifelong commitment to self-education
  • opportunist, able to listen and adapt to possibilities of moment instead of just imposing agenda
  • makes most of time and opportunities given
  • has faced demons and openly confronted self-destructive and self-sabotaging impulses
  • has struck balance between internal work and external accomplishments
  • compassionate and truthful self-acceptance
  • has reckoned with any damage of the past and is on course of self-improvement
  • has something to fight for and protect
  • is aggressively loving and caretaking of those around them
  • understands generosity of spirit is returned in kind
  • sees bigger picture of world while working towards personal passion
  • has not given up on pursuing unique talents and manifesting them in the worldÂ
  • has creative approach to shaping their own life
  • has spiritual self-acceptance and peace of mind about the limits of their own willpower
  • has a spark in their eyes and does not give up in the face of adversity
  • will walk through fire for the people in life they have committed to – does not get spread too thin
  • stands for things that are worth living and dying for
  • consistent: is able to be there for others consistently despite their own ups and downs
  • treats everyone they encounter well, as opposed to offering different personas to people based on what they need from them

Want to buy Free From Corporate America or see reviews of the final published version from readers like yourself? The printed book is now available on Amazon.com with product reviews.

You can also get a discounted version of the final book in eBook (PDF) format, or you can pick up a copy on the Kindle. The published version of the book is significantly enhanced from the web version available on this site.

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