What is Success?

It's funny, every day we get asked this very question. Curious bystanders on the shoulders to the road of life, watching as it passes us by, flirting with the implications of this question.

"What's your plan when it's done," they'll ask.

"When will it be done," they'll continue.

"What's your backup plan?" The backhand we all know is coming.

The best part of it is realizing not only the bystanders have these pressing thoughts, but we interrogate ourselves in this fashion as well. Some here and there, some weekly, and for the obsessed ones - every waking minute. We all want the security of the finish line, the different visions of the "end goal."

But when I look at this question, so piercingly direct, I feel that my idea of success has been alluding me, hidden in ambiguous inquiries. A roughly structured lie I tell to keep the dream alive. But now, with the curtains pulled back and the bystanders gone, I know what success is.

Success isn't the end. It isn't the lights and glamour, the money, the recognition - however tempting all that is - or anything else manifested from the outdated "American Dream."

Success is that first idea or situation that sticks or effortlessly morphs into a story. Success is the first letter of the first word to form the foundation of an outline. It's the realization that your account has begun to tell itself, three-dimensional characters guiding you to logical ends. It's the first as well as the final draft (pun intended). It's finally hitting a flow state after that crushing feeling of "this will never work." It's the first reading. The first nod of approval, letting you know, "I actually have something here." It's all of that, wrapped into a convoluted web of diligence, motivation, discouragement, and inspiration.

So, if I had put into a summary or a logline...

Success is the abundance of little things that light a fire under you day in and day out, pushing you effortlessly and forcefully to your goal, while the bystanders watch and are only left to say, "You've done it."

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
— Henry David Thoreau

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Connect with Jordan Criss on Instagram @crisshappens

Learn more about the author Jordan Criss on these Podcasts:

#52 - Jordan Criss: Soundset 2019 and Minnesota Brewing

#20 - Jordan Criss: Storytelling, Passion and Making Connections

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