Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An Unexpected Definition of Success That Questions Everything

The Meaning of 'Occupy'
The Meaning of 'Occupy' (Viewminder)
by , Unreasonable Is: http://unreasonable.is/opinion/an-unexpected-definition-of-success-that-questions-everything/

Why Give a Damn: I think the true measure of success is not how many companies you’ve started. Not how many “exits” you’ve had. Not how much money you made or how many houses you own. No, the true measure of success in life is how many other lives you made better.

The author of this post, Jeff Hoffman, is a serial entrepreneur in the internet, technology, and entertainment industries. He has founded, co-founded, and been the CEO of numerous start-ups and larger companies, and has led his companies through acquisitions and public offerings (including but not limited to Priceline.com, uBid.com, CTI, and others).

Yes, we know, you have lots to do, too many places to be, and no time to get everything done you planned to do today anyway. And yet, here we are, giving you something else to read. But there’s a method to our madness. A reason we are here. It turns out we’re busy too.

We might even bump into you in some of those busy places you have to go, in a world where everyone seems to be running around like chickens with their heads cut off. So why are we bothering you now?

I’ll tell you why. Because as fast as we run all day, sometimes we aren’t really going anywhere. We’re so busy keeping our nose to the grindstone that we don’t look up to see where it is we are actually going.

I want to ask you this question. Where do you want to be a year from now? Five years from now? In the later stages of your life, when it’s too late for regrets?

I’ve thought about that, and I found my answer. I’ve worked as hard as the next guy, slaving away to earn “success”, whatever that really means.

One day I found myself wondering what people would say at my funeral. When it’s all said and done, and I’ve used up all my free minutes on this planet, how would people summarize my life?

Then I asked myself an even more important question. What do I want them to say? I took some time to think about what matters most to me, what I really hope to accomplish with my life. What, to me, success really means. And I found the answer.

I think the true measure of success is not how many companies you’ve started. Not how many “exits” you’ve had. Not how much money you made or how many houses you own.

No, the true measure of success in life is how many other lives you made better. What did you do with your life that made someone else’s life better? How many people did you touch in a meaningful way? How many people did you inspire, lift, carry, or teach?

When it’s time for my funeral, I’ll know I was a success if people say “Wow, Jeff really made a positive impact on me”. If I somehow made their life better.

So why are we here, gathered in the community of the Unreasonable Group, asking you to spend your precious time on this site, reading this article?

Because this is our chance to make things better. To join hands and help lift people out of poverty. To reach behind us and pull people forward. To educate, to inspire, to assist, and to propel.

The greatest gift we can give a person in need is not to simply help them for a day, but to teach them how to help themselves. For a lifetime. Knowing that once they are on stable ground they will reach behind them and pull someone else forward.

I hope to use this time and space to come together as a community and discuss ways that we can amplify our ability to teach more people, to inspire more entrepreneurs, to unleash more ideas.

Let’s have an ongoing discussion about the multiplier effect, the way in which we can scale our efforts to help anyone who dreams of being in charge of their own life, of being the designer of their own future. So that one day, when we all look back, we’ll find a line of people stretching from Africa to Asia to South America. A line of people whose lives we made better.

Yes, I know you are busy. So am I. But I’ll see you here next time. Armed with ideas, buzzing with energy, finding ways to help.
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