Books, movies, magazines, and TV shows have at one time or another talked about it to great depths and detail. Today, there are special schools that have been named after it and teach it. In my humble opinion, some people even wrongfully make a living and a fortune training others how to achieve it.

What is it?

What is success?

Quite frankly I do not know what it is. I don’t think anyone does. Not in the conventional big-car-big-house narrative. I will however attempt to tell you what success is not. It is not a destination or a place. You cannot tell anyone to take this train or that flight and alight or land at ‘success.’ It is for this very reason that I do not trust/believe anyone or any book, magazine, or film that claims to show you how to attain success because in a sense they are telling you that “look this is the way to get success…”

Perhaps I should say that differently. The 7 billion people on this planet have different meanings of the word success. Imagine a man meets a girl and to him, that girl is so beautiful. He rushes to call his friend to tell him how he met a beautiful woman only for his friend to see her and be disappointed. Why is that? Surely beauty is beauty, right? Wrong! Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, success is what each person defines it to be. There is no one size fits all. “Oh but Nic c’mon when you have a lot of money, surely you got to be successful” Maybe so but only to the degree that money is your motivation and definition of success. Have you heard about wealthy people committing suicide? I have!

Money is just a success indicator.

Am not saying you stop reading all those motivational books by people considered successful. Am not saying you stop jotting down all those quotes and the so-called keys to success by people considered successful. But perhaps in retrospect, it is important to examine what that person considers to be a success before you want to be like them so badly or take their word as gospel.

What do you consider success to be? Is it acquiring a lot of wealth? Is it being a best-selling author? Is it being married to the person of your dreams? Is it even extensive travel with the aim of accumulating 10 million frequent flier miles? What is it? Because until you figure that part out, until it is specific to you and makes sense only to you, I guaran-damn-tee you, you will not know what success is.

Granted, no matter what you consider success to be, some things like hard work, resilience, patience among other virtues are needed to get there and it is those virtues that we ought to share with others.

It is those tips and nuggets that the so-called success coaches ought to be instilling in people. Not drawing a universal-one-size-fits-all picture of what it is. That is as much pointless as it would be to tell a man or woman who to love. What would make more sense is to tell such a man or woman what constitutes real, genuine, and abundant love.

My major concern is universally predetermining what success should be and then judging others if they are not perceived to achieve these ideas of success. Money, vehicles, houses, yachts, exotic holidays, all these are beautiful things to acquire but are you a failure if you do not have them?

Health, good relationships, strong and well-founded families, these are amazing to have as well but does the lack of them in one’s life automatically qualify one as a failure? No!

As a gentleman, gentle-lady, young or aged it is important to ask and then answer yourself, what does success look like in my life? When my curtains fall, what is it that I would have wanted to achieve?

The moment you get an answer, that is your success and it is what you will work towards.

That is your reason why.

Have you ever noticed that when you “fail” at something, people encourage you not to be weary and feel defeated? They tell you things like failure is not the end of the journey and that it is just in fact a bump on the road to success.

And have you ever noticed that when you “succeed” some few people of good will congratulate and encourage you to fight and maintain the success?

On one hand, we treat failure to be the opposite of success. On the other hand, we treat success as a destination to which we should all work towards; to which we should all aim.

Strictly speaking though in my opinion, success and failure are opposites of the same coin. You win some, you lose some. Through it all you learn critical lessons and acquire a wealth of experience in your life and in business. In other words failure is a necessary evil.

Do not, therefore, aim for success. Aim for greatness, happiness, and meaning. The perfect balance of success and failure will get you there.