When you google the question, you get a list of the rich and powerful – Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or Angela Merkel. But why does success have to defined by money or political power? I think the better approach is to personalise the question. So out of all the people you personally know, who is the most successful person? And what word would you associate with that person?
Framed in those terms, the question gets more interesting. In my case, I initially went through people I know who have lots of money, but their monetary success couldn’t obscure their character flaws. In the end, I settled for a friend who has a job he loves, but more than that – the word I associated with him was ‘kind’ (I also thought ‘smiley’, ‘open-hearted’ and ‘excited’).
Most people would pick someone of the same gender as themselves, so you can also ask who the most successful person is you know of the opposite gender. You’ll probably need to keep this private so as to not upset your partner! I picked someone who didn’t have a flashy paid job but was very happy in their life (‘happy’ was the word I associated with them).
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. I suspect I would have given different answers when I was younger, and I will give different answers when I’m older. But it’s a useful exercise and it helps you understand what’s important to you in your life.
Let me know your answers!
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