Challenging the status quo: I don’t need to be rich, I need to be successful

Do not just settle for riches or wealth, striving to make a positive impact in your world is THE true marker of success.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

The world is plagued today with employees and entrepreneurs who are supposedly public successes but private failures.

Do you find yourself constantly frustrated, stressed and dissatisfied with your job?

Do you feel stuck in business or a career path mainly for the financial benefits?

Does success mean having a top career status, wealth accumulation or fame with or without a healthy private life?

Is it possible to redefine success to embody fulfilment in both our public and private lives?

I intend to address these issues by inviting us to challenge the status quo through reconditioning the mind to redefine what success means for us personally.

What does success mean to you?

If success is meant to be associated with positive outcomes, then whatever I choose to do in life should have a positive impact on my personal life, my relationships and the lives of other people who may not necessarily be able to return the favour.

With this in mind, I have coined an encompassing definition of success below.

Success is the daily experience of fulfilment in one’s public and private life through;
1. Taking daily, weekly or monthly steps towards the accomplishment of a goal that will impact the lives of others positively and;
2. Taking daily, weekly or monthly steps towards achieving and maintaining a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.

A vital part of my success definition is that it doesn’t look at success as something to attain in a future time, but an experience that can be lived daily. The reasoning behind this can be explained by a popular adage, ‘Rome was not built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour’.

Success should be about the journey and not just the destination. When you define and personalise what success means for you and always keep it in front of you, taking those daily steps on the journey, that is achieving success.

Subconsciously or consciously, childhood and adulthood conditioning has influenced our understanding of success and drive to succeed. The process of reconditioning begins with acceptance of the facts, then mapping out a change plan to unpick why we do what we do in various areas of our lives.

This path usually leads to self-awareness and discovering your authenticity. Once you arrive at this point in life, your creativity becomes limitless. It becomes easier to discover your passion and match it with your skills and abilities to meet a need or solve a problem in your world. You become value-driven as opposed to being money-driven. If you gather wealth in the process, it becomes a bonus!

A good point to remember is that when people and things control you, they get the best out of you; when you are in control of you and your choices, you get the best out of you.

The hardest part of reconditioning is the unpicking process. It involves challenging the status quo but if you stick it out, you are already on a value-driven success journey.

Here are a few suggestions.
1. We need to have the right attitude to life
It is imperative to evaluate the choices we make and our attitude towards them. In essence, what you choose to do in any given situation and how you feel about those choices.

This is how you grow into self-awareness and authenticity. Both require you to establish your values and principles in life free from coercion and interference of family, friends, the media or other distractions.

You need to take time to rediscover who you are and why you do the things you do. In the words of Michael Jackson ‘if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change’.

By making subtle changes to your daily routine, in line with what success means for you, positive mind-sets and attitudes can be developed to make you and people you do life with happier.

2. We need to discover the right career path that reflects our life purpose
The two major areas to reflect on here are how you manage your finances and why you are in your current career path. The reason money has become a drive for success for most people is because of their relationship with money.

There is the ‘need for money’ to obtain vital necessities for daily living. Then, there is the ‘love of money’ brought about by an unhealthy view of what success should look like – fame, social status, wealth, designer possessions. This is when money controls a person as opposed to being in control of money.

Like drugs, and alcohol, it is possible to be addicted to making more money. This unhealthy drive could also be the reason for choosing a career path. The question to ask here is, can money really buy you everything you need to live successfully?

Can money buy unconditional love, healthy relationships, forgiveness, true happiness, kindness, integrity, and a sense of purpose? Remember, looking successful and being successful are two different things.

3. We need to have and maintain the right relationships in our lives
Healthy fulfilling relationships are important for our emotional and physical well-being. They are also important in shaping the path of our purpose in life. There is a popular saying to this effect, ‘show me your friends and I will tell you who you are and what your future will be’.

As part of reconditioning your life, you need to unpick your relationships to determine who stays close, and who to keep at a distance. Sometimes, this might have to involve family members as well.

The justification is simple. If you are constantly stressed, angry and anxious due to unhealthy relationships, your health will eventually take a toll and you will be unable to function at optimum capacity to live a successful life. in plain terms, you will eventually be useless to others and to yourself.

If we view success has something we aspire to achieve later in life, then what if you don’t live till ‘later in life’? Hence, my definition of success takes into account the daily, weekly or monthly, small steps towards a long-term life purpose, as a mark of living successfully.

Originally published at

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Do we need to redefine ‘success’?

by Nick Bloy
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

How to rewrite your success and wealth story

by Monique Shaw
Courtesy of Krista Kennell/Shutterstock

Gloria Steinem, Dolly Parton, Sally Field and Other Powerful Women on What “Success” Means to Them

by Marianne Schnall

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.