Success is a funny word. I’m not sure I’ve ever met two people who define the word the same way.
The varying definitions aren’t really the problem. The problem is that most of us assume everyone else is defining success the same way we are. And we’re wrong. We’re dead wrong.
My definition of success has a few layers, but here’s one: Build something you care about, and earn the right to come back tomorrow and do it again.
Solving hard problems for real people is something I find intrinsically motivating. You know what’s not in my definition of success? Solving problems that aren’t really problems, or solving for problems that are recurring because the root problem is ignored.
I don’t know what your definition of success is, and I know it’s different than mine. But for those of you who are also drawn towards identifying and addressing root problems, I encourage you to stay the path.
There’s a deep need in our world for people who are willing to do the hard, messy, inexact work of fixing structural problems. I can’t guarantee you’ll be appreciated for it, but I can guarantee you’ll see meaning in your work, and you’ll leave the world a little better than how you found it.
I’d even call you a success.