Everyone has their own definition of what success in life looks like, and what’s become interesting to Jake Nicks, an entrepreneur based in Florida, is that simply just having a lot of money tends to be the first thing that pops into people’s mind. While having money can certainly be considered a symbol of financial success, Jake wants to begin challenging others to look at a much more important metric to measure when determining one’s success: how happy they are.

It seems that social media has become a constant competition of who can make their life seem the most exciting. From traveling around the world to owning expensive items, it seems like there is no escape from seeing people’s highlight reel while browsing online. But how happy are all the people that you see online really? 

Jake Nicks had a few comments to share on this topic.

“I believe we live in a world where everyone wants their best angle, moment, or achievement to be the first thing that others see. While it is great to showcase the good things that you have in your life, for the tools that are available to all of us are incredibly powerful, I think the issue that our society has begun to struggle with is the constant need to live for the image of ‘looking successful’ in front of our peers, rather than simply doing whatever it is that genuinely makes us happy.”

Other well-known entrepreneurs such as Gary Vaynerchuck have spoken on this topic, often helping people remind themselves that they shouldn’t fall into the trap of trying to impress people who they might not even like or care about too much. What’s the actual point of trying to get a certain reaction from certain people when we might not even care to have those people in our lives? It doesn’t make sense, right?

Maybe you sometimes catch yourself doing this, and if you do, try taking a step back to really define what a successful life looks like to you. Is it “looking successful” in the eyes of other people, or is it being able to say that you are truly living a life where you are filled with inner happiness? 

Jake made building his career his entire focus while he was in his early twenties, and like most people, he had a good reason for it. He and his family had struggled with finances while he was growing up, so he felt it was his obligation to reach a certain level in his finances so that money was no longer a stress. 

But once he got to the point where his income was what he and most people would consider to be impressive, he realized that it wasn’t the only thing that made him feel successful. Jake found the most amount of happiness in his life from spending time with his wife and newborn, and what the money that he had worked so hard for had done for him was enable him to put it towards bettering the lives of those he loved.

It wasn’t how other people began looking at him that made him feel successful, it was the happiness he gained from both taking care of and spending time with those who he truly loved in his life (which I think is what most people would also consider to be real success).

So, the moral of the story here is that success can have many different definitions, depending on who you are asking and what their true desires are in life. Working hard and experiencing an increased amount of money that someone had previously earned may make them feel like they are a successful individual in society, but at the end of the day, is that what will make them feel like they are living a life of success?

How different might your image of success be if there was no longer the constant comparison of finances between you and those you see on a weekly basis (or those you are connected with online)? What would be the metric you’d measure if you were making a fair amount of money, but still felt something was missing? 

Jake is a prime example of what I know many people would consider to be successful, but it’s not just because of the financial success he has experienced over the past few years: it’s the level of happiness his life is currently filled with. My goal is for you to begin clearly-defining what a successful life looks like in your own eyes, because once you’ve created your own definition, you’ll then know exactly what it is that you yourself need to begin working towards.

Hopefully after reading this article, happiness has been added to your definition.


  • Ken Conklin

    Marketing & Systems Consultant, Founder of Gravel to Castle Accelerator

    I founded a consulting company called Gravel to Castle that weaponizes businessmen with tools & accountability for mastering the game of massive expansion in both their business & personal life.