David Smith On How We Need To Redefine Success

Don’t wait for Success- There’s no reason to wait and try to be successful later. If you have a vision or idea go for it now. Life is short, if you wait around your moment may never come. Even if you are scared, just go for it. Have you ever noticed how often we equate success […]

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Don’t wait for Success- There’s no reason to wait and try to be successful later. If you have a vision or idea go for it now. Life is short, if you wait around your moment may never come. Even if you are scared, just go for it.


Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing David Smith.

David Smith is one of the founders of Tenscope — a future-of-work subscription design startup providing frictionless, scalable digital design to clients across the US and Europe. He started his career as a consultant, undertaking projects for companies including Ericsson, ExxonMobil, Mazda, Nokia, and Sanofi. Subsequently he joined Visa, working in strategy and business development across Europe with banks, retailers and telcos. Most recently he was involved with startups and fintech before devoting his time to Tenscope. He is based in London.


Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

You’re welcome, I am happy to be here. Success is very important to me.A life experience that shaped me was going on an exchange semester to Germany. As a UK citizen, I was already used to diversity. I had many friends from different backgrounds and nationalities, and I got to learn about the challenges they faced on a daily basis living in England. But it wasn’t until I went to Germany that I understood how difficult it can be to adapt to not just another country, but to another completely different culture and language. Long story short, I learned that the best skill someone can have is adaptability… “doing whatever I can with whatever I have regardless of where I am” is now something I live by.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

When I was younger I definitely believed success had to do with how much money you have and how many people you know.

How has your definition of success changed?

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that having money and knowing people is worthless without a greater purpose in life and people to genuinely share in your vision. If you are happy and surrounded by even a few people that support you, you are successful. If you are happy and are using your vision to help and change the world, then you’re extremely successful.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

One of the biggest ways success is limited is by not giving younger people full credit and underestimating them. Millennials and older Gen Z now make up the majority of the workforce; discrediting the younger generations brings success to a stalemate. Society stays strong when it is constantly growing and changing.

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

The switch to remote based work has been extremely beneficial! I started Tenscope during the pandemic and it’s worked out so well for my team! It saves us money that would otherwise be spent on an office, and allows us to work with people from all around the globe. Although we are founded In London, we have staff from the USA, Austria, Serbia, and other places. This allows us to use more skills and helps us connect better with our worldwide customer base.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Have a vision- One of the biggest marks of success is using your time to make the world a better place. This means finding an issue and fixing it, even if the issue has not been addressed by other people. This problem solving influences all the great inventors and innovators. It could be anything from starting a non-profit for something you care about, to promoting clean energy through your products, to making something more accessible. The most important part is that it should be YOUR vision. If you stay true to your vision, whatever that is, you will feel like you lived a successful life. Sometimes there are roadblocks and you may want to quit; your passion will be the thing driving you to keep going.
  2. Happiness- Being genuinely happy is worth more than any material success and something hard to come by. If you are happy and doing what you love you are successful.
  3. Quality not Quantity in your Network- Sure having a large network is nice, but the quality of the people you surround yourself with is a better measure of success. Do you surround yourself with people who support you in your endeavors, and are truly there for you? Well, then you’re successful. Having a solid base of people that lift you up is way more valuable than those who watch on the sidelines waiting for you to fall.
  4. Making Mistakes is a part of the process- I know it’s over said but mistakes really are a step towards success, not a hindrance. Any truly successful person has made countless mistakes, but they don’t let their mistakes define or stop them. Success is made via hardwork and perseverance- and getting back up when you fall! If you make a mistake , you took a risk and that is the first step towards success.
  5. Don’t wait for Success- There’s no reason to wait and try to be successful later. If you have a vision or idea go for it now. Life is short, if you wait around your moment may never come. Even if you are scared, just go for it.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

If we all adopted this definition of success I think we’d see a much happier and more genuine world. The way success is often looked at now is very shallow and serves to benefit the 1% as it is very money focused. By changing it to be more value based, it would help humankind grow and prosper immensely.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

The biggest obstacle to redefined success is selfishness. No matter how great an idea is, if a CEO is selfish and pays their workers minimally, they will see minimal effort being put into their work. Success is often thought about in terms of being more successful than the person next to you, but if all people had the means for their own successes I think this would help a lot. Healthy competition and rivalry is good because it drives innovation, but it should be about creating the best product or fixing a problem in the most efficient way, not about being better than somebody else.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

Honestly, I’ve just been speaking from my heart here. All of what I’ve said are very important values of mine. I’m influenced heavily by my friends and family, who I discuss these matters with quite frequently.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

Elon Musk! His commitment to making energy efficient cars is something I really admire.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Please check out tenscope.co- We are a subscription based graphic design service with a well equipped team of designers, writers, and more.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.

Thank you so much for interviewing me! It has been my pleasure to share my definition of success with you. Thank you for your kind words.

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