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How do you define success?

Old 06-03-2010, 04:49 AM
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Default How do you define success?

After seeing the "how the other half lives" thread, it got me thinking.

Do we measure a person's success by their material posessions?
Does the size of our boat equal the amount of our success?

Boat ownership to me is a status symbol. You don't see too many folks playing on the water who struggle financially - regardless of the size of their boat. I'm simply curious what THT members consider a "successful" person.


Personally, I find that anyone who can support himself and his family with a decent standard of living is successful. I do not make hundred's of thousands of dollars annually, though I am not poor. I have an advanced degree (at the end of this month) and am married to a wonderful woman who is also well educated. We both have great jobs in that they balance time on and time off and provide our family with food, shelter, and plenty of "stuff" to play with. Is this not successful?
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by sea_major View Post
After seeing the "how the other half lives" thread, it got me thinking.

Do we measure a person's success by their material posessions?
Does the size of our boat equal the amount of our success?

Boat ownership to me is a status symbol. You don't see too many folks playing on the water who struggle financially - regardless of the size of their boat. I'm simply curious what THT members consider a "successful" person.


Personally, I find that anyone who can support himself and his family with a decent standard of living is successful. I do not make hundred's of thousands of dollars annually, though I am not poor. I have an advanced degree (at the end of this month) and am married to a wonderful woman who is also well educated. We both have great jobs in that they balance time on and time off and provide our family with food, shelter, and plenty of "stuff" to play with. Is this not successful?
It depends what you call successful. If you measure success by the size of your checkbook you will probably never be successful enough. If you have a good family, realtionship with God, enjoy your job and can look yourself in the mirror everyday knowing you have been a good person than you might be very wealthy and not even know it.

Personally I have a job that I enjoy most of the time, I make a difference when I can in the community. I make my bills and have a descent boat, I have my health, I still love my first wife after 19 years..So yep, I am successful, very happy and blessed.


My wife was just telling me of a family she knows that has a 15 year old dying of brain cancer and the end is near for her. I cant even imagine, yes my family and I have been blessed. It always depends on how you look at things.
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:30 AM
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While I could go on at length, simply put, I measure my success by the opportunities I can provide for my family while at the same time not being a total absentee workaholic. Dont get me wrong, I work long hours but if I can keep my kids happy, healthy and get them educated and out of the nest with a sense of moral and social responsibility and a good attitude about life, love and the human condition AND then eventually retire with my lovely wife and take the G-kids fishing, I think thats enough for me.

Oh ya and my dogs gotta have the dogs...
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:51 AM
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A quote I heard was from a teacher but I think it can be applied to success in general. He said he measured his success by the impact and successes of those he had taught. This man listed the students in his 50 year careers as a professors accomplishments and the short list included Dr's lawyers judges and teachers. Success can be defined many ways
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:50 AM
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I define success as taking the hand you are dealt and making it work for you. Somebody with no education and an abusive past that has has kept a steady job and goes outside of their box to prosper is successful. Maybe they flip cars on the side to make extra money, or renovated a rental property or who knows what. On the flip side I'd say somebody born with a silver spoon that makes 10 times as much as the first guy, but has never done anything great and just flounders among the family business is not successful. I think most of us are somewhere in the middle.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:01 AM
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You did not specify which type of sucess.

Personal or Financial or both.

I agree with Cracker. Financial doesn't matter in the end. Who you are and how you led your life matters the most.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:07 AM
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I think success is being secure enough with who you are to not
be worried about what others think! As far a jobs and possessions,
this too has to do with how secure you are with yourself!
I've met plenty of exec types who made tons of $$ but were far from happy....
Then there's the woman who serves lunches to the kids in the public schools,
not making a whole lot of $$$ but serves with a smile everyday! To me this woman
is a success!
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mronzo View Post
I think success is being secure enough with who you are to not
be worried about what others think! As far a jobs and possessions,
this too has to do with how secure you are with yourself!
I've met plenty of exec types who made tons of $$ but were far from happy....
Then there's the woman who serves lunches to the kids in the public schools,
not making a whole lot of $$$ but serves with a smile everyday! To me this woman
is a success!
I would say more just being happy. I am personally under more stress right now than at any other point in my life (started the joy of business ownership last year), however it has certainly shaken the boringness out of life... and I'm doing the same sort of work. That being said, success for me will be when this company runs itself and I just wander the earth exploring whatever tickles my fancy
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by wildgeechi View Post
success for me will be when this company runs itself
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:27 AM
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That is a tough one, some of these "sucessful-other half" people have a home life that is hell.
Is sucess having good children that have normal jobs ?
A daughter that is not a stripper ?
A son that is not a drug dealer ?
A wife that is faithful ?
Not being evicted from your home ?
I have struggled with the same thing. I am about to be 50 & feel like a failure in a lot of things.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:34 AM
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Someone once told me that success is doing a job that you believe is important, being recognized as one of the best at what you do, and feeling that you're fairly compensated for your efforts.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:35 AM
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Success doesn't mean millions of dollars and the ability to buy anything you want. Thats known as "monetary wealth".

Success is the ability to live without worrying about bills and being able to genuinely enjoy your lifestyle. Of course you have to live within your means or you will always struggle with bills no matter how much money you make.

My wife and I consider ourselves very successful. We are not plagued with debt, we both earn an honest living and we enjoy our lives.

Thats not to say we never lived like that. There were times when we did struggle with bills and debt, but we still made the best of it.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by pappastratos View Post
That is a tough one, some of these "sucessful-other half" people have a home life that is hell.
Is sucess having good children that have normal jobs ?
A daughter that is not a stripper ?
A son that is not a drug dealer ?
A wife that is faithful ?
Not being evicted from your home ?
I have struggled with the same thing. I am about to be 50 & feel like a failure in a lot of things.

I think we all have a fear of failure. I'm just 31 and often ask whether or not I should stay in my current career path, or choose something different? If I wait too much longer, it will be too late.

Personal success = loving wife, well-mannered children, strong faith in God, and the ability to be truthful.

Financial success? is having a 26,000sqft home, a mega yacht, and millions in stocks and bonds successful? sure, but can the same be said of the one with the 1600sqft home, a 20ft bowrider, and a 401K? He isn't on public assistance, he doesn't struggle to pay his bills, and he won't have to work his entire life.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:38 AM
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The biggest measure of success or failure doesn't happen until you are too old to change things - for most that is when retirement is near, the kids are grown and you are left to ponder those last few years of life.
If you get to that stage (about age 60), and can look back and are pleased with what you have done and accomplished (minor changes or regrets excluded) then you have been successful - if not, well hopefully the afterlife will be better to you.

If all we are looking at is financial success, if by the time you reach age 55, have your house(s) paid for, kids' college educations paid for, whatever other major purchases you want bought and paid for, a few million in the bank and can retire whenever you damn well please - that would be financial success.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:08 AM
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Success is being happy with what you have.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Ft Myers Ken View Post
Hey it can happen!
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:22 AM
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I hate to be a killjoy, but I would be much happier and I think this site would be more successful if this type of thread was in another section. Just sayin'.....
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:22 AM
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Successful is too broad. Do you mean successful at your job? Financially successful? Before you can deem success, you need to qualify it with a goal. If your goal is not die before age 55, any AARP members would be considered successful. If your goal is to raise a family, anyone with kids is successful. If your goal is to be in the top 1% of wage earners in the country, that can be measured as well.

If your goal is to raise a good family, be financially sound, have a few toys, and overall be happy, I'd say you were successful on all counts.

We all have regrets. I wish I had asked out Danielle when I was 14 - it turns out she liked me. I wish I hadn't gotten drunk when I went on a date with Nicola - she was above my pay grade and I was a bit nervous. I wish I had gone to the Coast Guard Academy instead of the Naval Academy. I was accepted to both but the Naval Academy wasn't a good fit and I left after the first year.

What if I made different choices? If I went with some other girl I wouldn't have the wonderful wife & daughter I now have. If I had gone to the Coast Guard, maybe I would have stayed in but then wouldn't be making the money I do now.

As long as I don't kill anyone or do anything to cause me to die a bitter man, I will call it a success.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by wildgeechi View Post
I would say more just being happy. I am personally under more stress right now than at any other point in my life (started the joy of business ownership last year), however it has certainly shaken the boringness out of life... and I'm doing the same sort of work. That being said, success for me will be when this company runs itself and I just wander the earth exploring whatever tickles my fancy
I have owned a company for sometime now. I don't know what you have started but the best way to keep it running smoothly is to have your hands in it. All the way up to your elbows. Yes I have more time off now than I did before but the phone never stops ringing and the stress level is imminence.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 34pro View Post
I have owned a company for sometime now. I don't know what you have started but the best way to keep it running smoothly is to have your hands in it. All the way up to your elbows. Yes I have more time off now than I did before but the phone never stops ringing and the stress level is imminence.
At some point you have to put the right people in place to make good decisions on your behalf, and motivate them by making them stake holders in the company. I now have 2 partners with some ownership in the company and they have done much to lower my stress.

I have no illusions I won't be involved daily (hourly) anytime in the near future, but the mark of a good manager is when things continue to run smoothly if you step away... My role should be business development and strategic direction, not day to day running of the business
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