What is Success?

Updated: July 11, 2015


By Kerry Patton

“Surround yourself with winners or people working desperately hard to win. And when I say, ‘win,’ it’s not about being loaded or famous or anything that most people see as valuable – it’s about the relentless pursuit to be exceptional. When you have that drive and surround yourself with people who have it, you end up experiencing things previous thought unimaginable.”—Nick Palmisciano (President of Ranger Up)

It’s a simple question to ask but extremely difficult to answer—“What is success?” Some believe its fame and fortune. Some would argue otherwise.

Success is a subjective concept. It is a subjective concept often filled with perceptions—false and real perceptions.

We may read about a person hitting the lottery—truly winning a lottery ticket, winning a large sum in a law suit, or creating a product or brand which got them millions. Does “hitting the lottery” mean such person to be successful?

What about those we see on television? Are actors and actresses, news anchors, correspondents, interviewees, etc. automatically successful just because we see them on television?

I have written several books. I have been interviewed on an array of media outlets. I have also been seen on television shows and in movies alike. I can tell you, with full disclosure here, that I have earned my share of wealth. But does any of that mean I am necessarily “rich?”

Some would assume by disclosing the aforementioned that I am a successful person. They would be wrong.

Yes, I am a published author. Many of the books I have written have received rave reviews however I do have a few books that were complete disasters. Yes, I have been interviewed on several media outlets—never once was I paid to do those interviews and with time, I realized I was being used for the insight I had on specific topics—often used for some political agenda. And yes, I have been a part of production crews for television and movies. But again, some of them really assisted in my career while others, you guessed it, were complete disasters.

With every disaster which I was a part of, I learned. The learning curves were, at times, overwhelming.

What I have done or been a part of, what I have succeeded in fulfilling and what I have actually failed in, is not what has made me successful. In fact, I often wonder whether I am truly successful, mostly in part because I contemplate what the word success really means.

Success, per the relation to ones assessment in life, is subjective and perceptually derived. But make no mistake about it; I firmly believe through my own self-assessment that I am a successful person—more now than I ever was.

shutterstock_119599936I no longer make the money I once did but I have enough to live the life I wish—a non-monetarily concept of a “rich” life—a non-greedy, happy life, capable in ensuring my family has food in their mouths and a roof over their head. Of note, the food my family eats is not that of steak and lobster. No, I’m talking about Mac N’ Cheese, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Meatloaf, etc…you know, the good stuff people can eat, make a mess on the table, and laugh out loud as a family simply enjoying the moment. And, we do this under the roof of an old quaint 1890’s farm house.

I no longer, or shall I say rarely, do media interviews. I do not miss the television or radio media world one bit. From my experiences, there is always an agenda and it’s often filled with negative connotations against some political opposition sensationalizing matters to stir up the masses. I became frustrated with what I saw on the news and what I was asked to provide my insights on. Making the decision to no longer do those interviews has made me much happier than I once was when I did them.

I no longer just pick up the phone and go on some television or movie set when asked. I am relatively selective on the sets I work on these days even though the payouts are normally ridiculously large. Big Hollywood sets can be great and make no mistake about it; I have made some exceptional friends on such sets and being on such has helped fill my wallet. But, they can also be filled with egotistical back stabbing jerks.

The bigger the set, the more likely one will encounter issues despised. I am a huge fan of independent filmmaking yet rarely does such low budget independent film making put any significant dollar amount in one’s pocket. But guess what? More often than not, I take the lesser money making venue over the headache driven money machine.

Hopefully people will learn that I place a large value on happiness when it comes to my self-assessment on this thing called success. Money does not bring about true happiness—look at the magnitude of wealthy individuals who are utterly depressed. But it is people, good caring supportive people, people who can differentiate wealth from “rich,” who make me happy.

Nick was quoted above claiming one should surround themselves around people working relentlessly to win—relentlessly trying to be exceptional. I couldn’t agree more. But being exceptional is also understanding what makes a person happy-Morales, values, living a life with a true smile and being surrounded around like-minded individuals.

Take your bumps and bruises. Fall. Then, look around you and see who is willing to extend a helping hand to assist you back up on your feet. Reach for that hand then smile. Smile because you know someone is there beside you.

Me? I have had my fair share of up’s and down’s and I will surely have many more. But I am surrounded by people, good loving and caring people who wish me happiness and exceptional health no different than how I wish for them.

Of note, not once was it mentioned of goals or benchmarks and timelines. To me, while those aspects are important, they are not nearly as important as the self-assessment. It’s a subjective concept but only you can be the one to truly determine whether you are successful or not.

Four incredible children, a loving wife, a quaint old 1890’s farm house, food in our bellies, an exceptional support echelon of like-minded individuals…yeah, I’m doing alright. Actually, I’m doing better than just alright. I’m doing great and I am happy. I am truly “rich.”

I am successful.



One Comment

  1. Mike K.

    July 20, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Outstanding words. I have Nicks quite hung up in my office at work. Whenever a new cop is assigned to the unit I make it a point to show them the quote and to let them know that this is what drives our unit. To push each other on and off the job to be exceptional.

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