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How Do You Define Success

For the month of August I have decided to dedicate to the lessons I have learned from my brother, Johnny.  My brother is 2.5 years older than I am and we are very different people though we came from the same parents. Besides our genetics, we don’t have all that much in common. But just because we are different, doesn’t mean that there aren’t lessons to be learned from each other. Through the years I have learned many lessons from my brother and will showcase those lessons this month.

The first lesson I learned from my brother was do what makes you happy. When you do what makes you happy, you are successful.  My brother went to an engineering school in Massachusetts with the intention on becoming an engineer. Once in college,he discovered his passion was for theater and not engineering. He was surrounded by students who were all pursuing a life of engineering with the intentions of working for engineering firms and the Government but my brother didn’t share that dream. His dream was different, and instead of blending in with the environment in which he found himself, trying to live up to the expectations of others, or becoming like everyone else, he created his own vision of what he wanted to achieve. My brother decided to get a degree in Liberal Arts and pursue his dream of working in the theater. He made no apologies and no excuses for not being like everyone else around him.

Johnny struggled while trying to make a life in theater but he never gave up. He worked nights, weekends, and holidays to get the experience he needed to become better at his craft and earn a living. Though the theater didn’t pay as much as engineering, Johnny’s happiness was never and still is not derived from money. His success came from doing what he loved. Johnny marches to his own drum and doesn’t look for outside approval to define his success. His happiness comes from within and that is success. He uses his own internal compass to know and achieve what makes him happy. What makes Johnny happy is living to play and if he gets paid to play all the better.

Johnny has taught me that the definition of success is individually defined. What one person defines as success is not universal for all. True success is being happy with the life you live and having a good time along the way.

How do you define success? Do you look for outside approval to know when you have become successful? Do you try to live to other’s expectations of you? Or do you look for approval from yourself? Do you do what makes you happy and in turn become successful?

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