Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Better Definition of Success*

I currently live in a city where success is measured by:

  • The size of your house
  • Your ability to afford a car
  • The brand of your handbag 
  • The title you have on your business card

Parents start to fret about their children's grades in primary school. This, in turn, causes those kids to grow up thinking that good academic grades lead to a fancy job title, designer handbags, continental cars and a large apartment with rooms to store material possessions that don't add incremental value to one's life.

Like them, I used to want all of the above - but not anymore.

At this juncture of my life, that definition of success no longer appeals to me. Branded designer goods? Stuff that I don't need. Large European cars? That's a large block of metal that's depreciating every day. Luxury apartments? That's a 40-year burden.

To fund all these 'success' symbols, you'll need a job with a fancy title. And that means a 70-hour work week - a lifestyle that is repelling, both in thought and in actuality.

Of course, if you happen to be one of the very few out there who can genuinely afford these excesses without going into debt and have more than enough to live a fulfilling life; then great! You're the living definition of freedom - but you'd be busy picking out your next yacht instead of reading White Collar Freedom.

I no longer yearn for that 70-hour work week with a 5-figure paycheck, to pay my debts for stuff that I don't need - to look successful. Today, I live by a better definition of success and it does not involve material possessions.

You know how marketers construct campaigns that revolve around impulsiveness, constantly throwing around terms such as You Only Live Once (Y.O.LO)?

I once read that it is bullshit. You only die once, you live everyday. So, make the right decisions today, because you're going to live with the consequences everyday. 

So fellow rats, success is not measured based on your ability to purchase a bigger house, a bigger car or more success symbols. It is about your ability to lose a job.

Can you roll up your sleeves today, loosen your tie and walk away from the rat cage, from the large paycheck with your head held high - knowing that tomorrow will be fine? 

That's my definition of success.

And it's a better one.

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This


  1. WCF,

    As someone that has experienced many of the things you mentioned, I couldn't agree with you more. That's a great perspective you have and at a young age. You will do well in life.


    1. My Dividend Pipeline,

      I wasn't always like that. I'd always wanted the glitz and glamour that a white-collar job promises - until I hit rock bottom one day and realized that I was unhappy in my job.

      But I couldn't quit...that was the perfect catalyst to pursue a life of freedom and I started to see things with a new lens. I'm thankful to have figured this out at a relatively young age.

      Btw, I'm loving your dividend stream. AMAZING.

      See you around the blogosphere,

  2. No question! We've built up a nice nest egg and can live on that for at least 5 years (it would be tight but we could manage). Knowing this makes me a lot calmer than the rest of my co-workers.

    1. There's a special kind of comfort we get knowing that there's a stash of 'freedom' growing somewhere. That feeling is hard to find elsewhere. I have only under 2 years now, but I'm confident it will only continue to balloon in the near future.