When I say the word “SUCCESS” what do you envision…?
Is it having a nice car, is it having a nice family or is it simply just having a career that you love…?
I’m gonna share with you two different stories of two different men, and I want your opinion on who you think lived a more successful life.
This is Ben.
Ben had a really rough childhood.
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He grew up very poor, his parents were not exactly very loving.
Instead of helping him with his homework or making him dinner or taking any interest in him at all they would go to the local bar and drink.
And this was really difficult or Ben to deal with.
He would often sit alone in his room and he would ask himself, why don’t they want to spend time with me, what did I do wrong, could I be better?
But Ben never got an answer.
The way Ben coped with his childhood was by reading books.
Everyday after school he would just go to this local library and read.
See books were a way for him to escape, he didn’t have to think about his parents and he could just forget about his sadness and just lost in his stories.
Over time Ben eventually became very fascinated with Greek history and he would read about great Greek heroes like Alexander the Great and how they possessed all these traits of courage, bravery, and power.
And sometimes he would even imagine himself being this rich, Greek, conqueror where he had the freedom and power to do whatever he wanted.
And he could help as many people as he wanted.
It was through reading these books when Ben decided that he wanted a better life for himself.
He wanted to become a modern day conqueror.
Fast forward to high school and Ben was working extremely hard.
He only had one goal on his mind at this time at that was to get a full ride scholarship to a local college.
And through hard work he actually did it.
And he decided to pursue law.
After college Ben went on to become a fierce lawyer, his work ethic was unmatched, his intensity was admired and feared by his competition.
Ben was becoming unstoppable.
And over the next few years he had become one of the top paid lawyers in the state.
All of this achievement and “success” did come at a cost.
Ben didn’t have time to go outside and socialize, he didn’t have time for hobbies or vacations and he certainly did not have time to settle down and find a loving partner.
His work had completely consumed him but this is the price that everybody has to pay if they want to becomea modern day conqueror.
And also, if Ben was being totally honest with himself he didn’t exactly love practicing law.
It’s not like he woke up in the morning and was super excited to work and to spend hours and hours researching every single case.
Because he was so busy he never actually asked himself, what do I actually enjoy doing?
What would I do if I had $20 million in my bank account?
How would I spend my time?
But this work is what allowed him to live in a nice house, to drive a nice car and to eat at nice restaurants.
But most importantly it’s what allowed him to be financially free which is something that he always wanted since he was a kid.
This is Jeff.
And Jeff was born into a middle-class family.
His childhood was pretty average, no major traumas, he played some sports and he had a very nice family.
And he did okay in school.
From a very young age, Jeff’s parents told him, Jeff, do whatever makes you happy.
And that’s exactly what he did.
Fast forward to high school and Jeff was doing just enough to get by.
He didn’t have big college dreams or dreams of conquering the world.
He spent most of his time just doing what he liked which was playing the guitar or hanging out with his friends.
Jeff did really enjoy helping people though.
And he even started to volunteer at the local homeless shelter a couple times per week.
And doing this gave him a lot of joy and happiness.
Jeff did apply to a few colleges in his area and eventually one accepted him.
But he had no idea whathe wanted to major in.
And after a few years of kind of floating around and taking it easy, he decided to major in creative writing.
Because english was the only academic class that he actually enjoyed.
After college, Jeff decided to start a blog about music where he would interview local musicians in the area about how they got started, about what their future plans were.
And again, he did this because he loved music and he loved helping other people succeed.
And over time, Jeff built up a small but loyal fan base online and he truly loved what he did.
It was combining his two passions, writing and music.
However, this job did not exactly pay that well, he wasn’t driving around in nice cars or going to nice restaurants and he could only afford a very basic apartment.
He was making just enough money to get by while saving only a little bit every single month.
What Jeff did have was time.
He had time to make friends, he had time to go out and make great memories with these friends and he even had time to meet a great girlfriend.
Jeff was the type of guy who didn’t take life too seriously.
So I bet most of you guys have an idea in your head about who was more successful.
But before you tell me your opinion, let me quickly tell you mine.
Everyone has a different vision of what success look likes.
And the interesting thing about success is that everyone thinks their vision of success is the correct one and that everyone else’s vision is wrong.
In my personal opinion, I think all this great.
I think wanting money is good, I think wanting a loving family is great but the problem arises when we start saying our vision of success is the right one and your vision of success is the wrong one.
And the reason why most people tend to do this is because when he hear about another person’s vision of success that contradicts our vision or it contradicts the way that we’ve already been living our life we get really defensive and we will start to exaggerate all the positives about our lifestyle and we really play down all the negatives.
If your parents spent their whole lives focusing on stability and money they are way more likely to tell you that that’s the proper way to live life and they will highlight all the positives.
Similar to how if your parents focused on fun and joy, they are much more likely to encourage you to do that.
The main point here is that the only person who knows what a successful life looks like for you is you.
You can and should listen to other people’s perspectives but just remember, part of the reason why they’re telling you about how good their lifestyle is because it makes them feel good about their own life choices.
Never, ever let someone else tell you how you should live your life.
Because it’s not their life, it’s your life.
So coming back to Ben versus Jeff, I don’t know who lived the more successful life.
You could make great, logical, rational, amazing arguments for both sides.
The only people who know for certain if they are successful is Ben and Jeff.
And they only way they can figure this out and they only way that all of us can figure this out is to become self-aware and understand what success really means to us.