20 Signs of Success For Our Generation

Richard Branson

One of the most successful entrepreneurs ever

What’s your idea of success?

Has it changed since you’ve grown? If so, you’re not alone.

Personally, what I define as successful is completely different than five years ago.

After reading the 4 Hour Work Week, it changed my whole outlook on life.

Does owning a big house and a nice car mean success? To some it does. However, it’s not the ultimate sign of success.

Our generation is different than the past. Before it was graduate college, get a job, buy a house, get married, have kids, and retire from the same company after 40 years.

Success was saving enough money for our retirement.

Sorry, but we don’t follow that path anymore. We march to a different beat.

We’re looking to follow our passion, control our time, do work we love, have freedom to enjoy life now, and more.

Here are 20 things I came up with that demonstrate success for us.

1. Having Freedom

Freedom is having control over our own life. We live the way we want. We choose when we want to work or take the day off. We call the shots. We are not a slave to the clock.

We don’t suffer through five days of work to enjoy two days off on the weekend. Every day feels like a Friday and we look forward to Mondays.

2. Living and working where we want

What’s better? Working in a cubicle every day or working from home and having the commute to the office just being steps away?

What about working anywhere in the world with an internet connection?

Success is having a mobile business.

3. Passive income

We’re making money whether we’re sleeping, working or playing. We’ve built our business to generate income every day without us touching it.

We don’t trade our time for money.

It takes work to get to that point, but we’ve built our income systems to do that.

4. Living your passion

When people ask us what we do, we’re not ashamed to say it. We love what we’re doing. We wake up every day excited to know that we get to work on something we love.

We’ve been able to find that sweet spot where we love what we’re doing, provide value to others, and get paid for it.

It’s doesn’t feel like work because we’re having so much fun.

5. Travel and Travel

Traveling is so nice I had to say it twice.

The world is a big place and there are so many wonderful places to see. We don’t want to wait till we’re over 65 to start traveling. We want to travel while we’re still young and vibrant.

We can decide where we want to go and when. No need to wait for a vacation or ask for permission.

6. Being the boss

Some love the idea of being the boss. It could be of a small business or a Fortune 500 company. Either way, when we’re the boss, we’re calling the shots.

We report only to ourselves. We control our own destiny.

7. Leaving a legacy

We want to have our work to make an impact long after we are gone. Future generations will remember what we did to help make the world a better place.

When our name is mentioned, they will remember greatness.

8. Spending more time with your kids

Many of us are building the life of your dreams right now so we can spend more time with our kids, if or when we have kids. The time we can be around our kids is invaluable.

9. More time with your family

Being able to balance work and family is a huge sign of success. A great relationship with our family is a huge factor for success as well. Being happy at home will spill over into our work.

Many people with six figure salaries work so much they barely have time to spend with their family. Is that what we want? No.

A more balanced lifestyle means we’re more successful. A happy family life is the key to a happy life.

10. Having great health

Being filthy rich isn’t going to mean much if we’re not healthy. Having our health mentally and physically means our success is well rounded.

Too often people neglect health for material success. They eat junk, drink too much alcohol, or rely on pills to help sleep. Too much stress at work carries over into our personal life and vice versa.

Don’t forget about your health.

11. Having exciting stories to tell

Being successful means we constantly get out of our comfort zone. We do what unsuccessful people aren’t willing to do.

We take that attitude and apply it outside of work. Being able to go on adventures and experience new and exciting things, adds the thrill that makes life worth living.

At the end of our life, you’ll live a life without any regret. That is success.

12. Financial Freedom

We don’t need to be a millionaire to be considered a success. Just being able to to pay all our bills and be debt free is enough for many.

We don’t stress over money.  Money allows us to live the life we want to live.

13. Time with loved ones during holidays

When we’ve worked hard during the year, it’s nice to relax during the holidays with friends and family. Great food, great conversation, and great times.

It’s a time to be thankful and we have lots to be thankful for.

14. A great night of sleep

How important is a peaceful night of sleep? So important. If we sleep great at night, it means our we’re healthy. We’re free from pain. Our minds are clear. Life is good.

15. Teaching and inspring others

Once we’ve attained a certain level of success, teaching others is rewarding. Our success is an inspiration to them. When others want to learn from us, it means they value our knowledge and experience.

They listen to what we have to say. They buy any products we have to learn more. They pack conferences to hear us peak.

We’re someone they aspire to be like.

16. Recognition

We put in so much work into what we do, it’s great to be recognized for it.

Oscar winners feel rewarded for putting in so much passion into an award winning movie.

Journalists want to interview us.

Even if you win employee of the month, it’s a small symbol of success. It means you’re doing something right and others recognize that.

17. Retiring early

If we’re able to retire early, others see it as a sign of success. Maybe we’re ready to focus on other passions. Maybe we want to do more traveling. If we’ve work hard and smart enough to allow ourself to retire early, go for it.

18. Control our own time

Time is valuable. We can always make more money, but we can’t make more than 24 hours in a day.

We are the owners of our schedule. If today is a day for the beach, we do it. If we want to spend three days working on a project, we do it.

It’s our choice and we love having that power.

19. Great Friends

Studies show that people with a group of close friends and a close community have less stress, accomplish more, and are healthier and happier.

We have great friends who get what we’re doing and our lifestyle. Not everyone will understand and that’s normal. We find those who do.

20. Giving back

Once we’ve attained financial success, we want give back to those in need. Donating to charity can mean writing a check or giving your time to make a difference.

When I asked my Facebook community what they’d do if they won the Mega Millions, many mentioned donating to charity.

We’re a group of people that want to give back.

Bonus: Private planes, mansions, and your own island

This is what we typically think of being successful. If we’re doing something we’re passionate about and reach millions of people, the money will come.

It’s not the main thing that make us successful in life. Money doesn’t buy true happiness. Instead we strive for a balance.

Now it’s Your Turn

I want to hear from you.

What’s truly important to you in the list of 20 things?

What is your definition of success?

 

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Photo by Gulltaggen

 

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  • To me, success means doing work I’m passionate about, and earning a decent income from it.

    Ellen DeGeneres looks like she’s having a ball each day…and she’s paid well.

    • Ellen is a great example. She laughs. She gets to talk to amazing people. She’s paid very well. She just looks like she loves not only her job but life. That’s success!

  • Aaron Andrews

    These are all the things I long to have! I can’t really think of anything else to add to the list. The most important things for me are being able to spend time with family, be in control of my own time, & living comfortably. I don’t need nor want to be filthy rich. I like nice things but I don’t need to have a jet, 10 cars or a 8 bedroom house. If I can do something I love to do and earn enough money to be comfortable, I’ll be happy. Now I have to try and make it happen! Good post.

    • Thanks my friend! Being filthy rich isn’t anyone’s main goal for most people. Definitely not for our community. We want those 20 other things first. If millions of dollars come from it, then great! Bill Gates or Steve Jobs didn’t start because they wanted to be billionaires. They followed their passion and money just came from it.

      Go and make it happen!

  • I have to say that all those things basically encompass what I see as success and what I am building towards. I know you put having more time with kids and friends and family, but I want to have a good family that I have raised and kids that are a help to society not a weight on it.

    • Thanks Elena for your thoughts! I definitely believe the community here at Get Busy Living strive for a majority of those signs of success. We definitely need more kids that help society and not bring it down for sure. If we did, this world would be a much better place.

  • A lot of my friends don’t understand why I quit a well paid career to pursuit, live and enjoy my passion in Scuba Diving (even though it’s not nearly as profitable here in Mexico). You obviously do. Thanks for posts like this, I love to hear more and more people are less interested in what is known as “a career” and more interested in actually living and working on your passion.

    I’ve been on your mailing list since you were mentioned in SPI regarding your inspiring achievements with “Photo365”.
    Keep it up!

    • Hey Mario! Great to meet you. We’re not interested to work just to work. We’re interested in following our passions and most likely it’s many different things. I definitely know there are still people, like your friends, who won’t understand it. However, there are many people who understand it and encourage it. That’s awesome you’re living your passion!

      Thanks for reading since the SPI interview! Wow that just seems like yesterday when I did it but it’s been almost six months. Time flies!

  • Great post, Benny!

    My definition of success matches most, if not all, of the 20 examples you listed here. The idea of working hard for retirement is no longer an option for today’s workforce. Changes in business and the economy has taught us that we must adapt and thrive to remain successful and happy in life instead of working hard today for a future reward.

    One main ideal that has changed my definition of success is sustainability. Sustainability applies to my contribution in the world and it’s effects.

    Sustainability also applies to my individual experience. For example, I do not seek wealth, I only want financial health. I want enough to live comfortably, save for my future, and enjoy recreation. I don’t need to get everything I want to live a full and happy life!

    Have a grateful day!

    Chrysta

    • Love how you view success. We definitely do need to adapt and thrive or else we’ll get left behind in whatever we are doing. Money isn’t everything for sure. Just being happy and enjoying life doing something we’re passionate about is enough. Thanks for sharing!

  • Benny, as usual, you caught me right where i need to be caught. First from my main mentor, Richard Branson who’s lifestyle interests me a lot and you posted about him here.

    I love this post and the main thing is to work any time, travel whilst still young and live the life worth living too. It pays to be an entrepreneur.

    Sheyi

    • Richard Branson is a legend. He’s built his company through innovation and having fun. I know you’re working hard everyday to live your dream!

      • I’m surely doing my best and i am pretty sure good things are around the corner.

        Thanks to you for been an inspiration!

        Sheyi

  • Paul

    Ok, I think you got it all covered but to me it’s the finding some thing to fill the soul vs my pocket. To find some thing that does both and with passion is a dream come true. I currently am working towards that goal and hope to be there soon. To take a job just for the money leaves you a prisoner.
    I think it’s also imprtant to take your loved one along so that they can escape the handcuffs of a paycheck or find what they love to make money at.
    DREAMS + PASSION + ACTION = SUCCESS

    • I definitely know about taking a job just for money. It’s soul sucking. It’s horrible. I agree that filling the soul makes a person more wealthy than filling the pocket. It definitely would be amazing to be able to take care of family with their financial situation. Good luck on your journey towards your goal and definitely let me know when you do get there!

  • Passive income is what I’m in the market for which I’ve developed recently! So far the monetizing and earnings are increasing steadily! Thanks for sharing this inspiration post Benny!

    • Awesome to hear earnings are increasing for you! Love hearing great news from the community.

  • Out of this great list of 20 I love Numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 ( of course!), 8 , 11, 15 , 18, 19 , and 20!

    and here is how I define my definition of success:

    http://www.i-heart-travel.com/1/post/2012/03/definition-of-success.html

    Great post benny !

    • You mean you don’t want the all gold toilet seat?? Hahaha. First of all your daughter is beautiful! I love your definition of success. Material goods just give us happiness temporarily, but spending time with family, friends, and going on trips last forever.

      And I’m craving some night market food now that I saw your pic!

  • So first off the 4 Hour Workweek has been sitting on my bookshelf for the past couple of months. It looks like I should get on reading that!

    What I really love about our generation is the different style of work that is beginning to spread. This idea of scripted days of desk work being bullshit is an idea that is certainly contagious with our generation.

    I love hearing stories of people making a living traveling the world, finding new ways to create inspiring and meaning mediums through the power of technology, and focus more on a purpose that is aligned with what WE want.

    It sounds audacious to say, but I think there is more than just a generational gap between ours and the last, I think it marks the forefront of another shift in human consciousness.

    Yet another post put together Benny! I can always count on you for that!

    PS I’ve been keeping up with my photo365 app…it’s been awesome!

    • You should read the 4HWW! A great book for sure. I think of it like the Bible of this new lifestyle design movement. So many bloggers I’ve come across have been influenced a lot by that book.

      A great comment Chris. You summed it up so well. Our generation would rather have a much more balanced life and take a little less pay. While the older generation worked as much as they could to earn as much money as they could.

      It’s changed, but I think for the better because so many are now looking to leave their legacy in the world and not just collect a paycheck.

      Glad you’re keeping up with the app!

  • Excellent Ben,
    I really love the way you’ve explained what success is. As you said, it’s not about owning a big house and saving for retirement but it’s so engrained in so many peoples heads around the world. Especially in American and Canadian culture.. It’s hard to break from that idea especially if you have a family because of FEAR. You keep working so hard because you are afraid of what MIGHT happen..

    I wanted to add that when you are successful you feel happy and everyday when you wake up you feel like you can’t wait to start the day. Right now i don’t have the financial freedom i want to achieve YET but….. i am happy with the work i do because i enjoy it and i know that if i keep at it it will come. I don’t have to work at a job i hate to get there.

    The second thing i think success is.. more idealistic but I think if you can make a positive impact in the world in any way. be it volunteer, helping the homeless or spreading the word of a worthy cause, that to me is also being successfull. I think you are doing that with this blog by helping to change the ideology that so many of us carry around about what success is..

    Great article Benny.. loved it…. as usual..

  • amazing post, Benny! You totally nailed it. 4 hour work week was a game-changer for me as well. I kept hearing about it and finally got around to reading it in early 2009 and man, I started to feel so anxious as I read it! Especially after the line “Life is too short to spend in a cubicle”..seriously. I’m happy to say fast forward 2.5 years later, I report to ME! It’s an ongoing work in progress but it’s totally worth it.
    “No need to wait for a vacation or ask for permission.” truth.

    Success = To have lived, loved and laughed and maybe inspire a few people along the way 😉

    • Thank you Sandy! I know the 4HWW has changed many lives. I wish I remembered how I found that book. I just know I’m glad I did. I know you’re working on things you love to do and you enjoy life! That’s the best way to live.

  • What great timing with this post. I am finally reading The 4-Hour Workweek (yes, I’m way late) and I’ve been thinking a lot about my definition of success.

    I especially agree with #12. Being debt free is something we strive for much more than our parents did. We cringe at the thought of a 30-year mortgage!

    I wonder how the country you grew up in affects your definitions of success. I’ll admit it: my husband (from Iran) thinks success is driving a brand new Audi A5. Rich = successful to him. My (from the USA) definition of success looks a lot more like this post.

    • I think different countries have different definitions of success. I know being Asian, if we were doctors or lawyers, we would be considered successful. A good normal job would be considered a success as well. So that means working 9-5 Monday thru Friday. That’s success. So I do believe different countries have different opinions.

      Glad you finally read the 4HWW! Have you read Chris Guillibeau’s book yet? If not, that should be next. 🙂

  • I love this post! I used to think success was how fast I’ll make money, and how much of it. I never realized that the pursuit of money in itself would burn me out so fast at 23. Now, I’m a lot happier when I distanced myself from that definition – focusing instead on relationships, my passions, and positive thinking 🙂 Not as rich as many people I know, but I KNOW I’m much happier.

    • You summed it up perfectly. I know exactly how you feel too. My friends would look at me and say I was successful. But they didn’t know what was going on inside and how unhappy I felt. Glad to hear you’re much happier now! Rich isn’t everything. That should be a byproduct of everything else we do. Thanks for your first comment here!

      • “Rich isn’t everything” – exactly! I’ve also gone beyond caring what people’s egos say about me. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Benny, that’s not only success for your generation, it’s success for ANY generation. But I do know what you mean. “Back in the day” when I was fresh out of college, we did define success differently. We anticipated working 60 hours a week. In fact, you bragged about it. And you weren’t considered successful unless you dressed for success in the nicest suits, watches. Certain cars like the BMW for successful “yuppie” were a requirement. Travel was not in the picture. How could you if you worked so damn much. And now…what a waste of my time and energy to be so misguided for so many years. Your generation is going to be so much happier and fulfilled during your lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to me NOW, to change my story and focus on living a better story everyday.

    • Hey David, even when I got out of college, that was the thing to do as well. Then there was a book that came out called “The Thirtysomething Crisis”. I related to it as I approached my 30’s. I didn’t realize others felt the same way! I was working so much a week and felt that was just how it was suppose to be. I hope there are more that realize it’s not too late to change their story no matter their age.

  • brilliant, refreshing post, more people need to realise that a career doesnt make you happy by the money it brings, i truely believe that if youre doing a “job” that you love then you put all the energy, hard work, patience and determination in thats needed, and when the pennies come rolling in its just an added bonus

    • Thanks so much. You’re right that finding a job you truly enjoy is much more rewarding than hating a job but making a lot of money.

  • Benny, you really hit home with this post. Thanks for another great read! We are totally with you on this man. We were part of that herd that bought an expensive house and filled it with things. Our parents did it, our siblings and friends did it, so it’s all we knew(or cared to know) about how to carve out success.

    We woke up out of that “old American Dream” two years ago, and started making plans to change. Last year, we sold everything and left to travel the world with only the things that fit into two 60L backpacks and a couple small daypacks. We have almost everything in your list, just need to keep working smart like you, and in time we will have the passive income and financial freedom part.

    Thanks for an awesome post!

    • Many of us have made the same mistake and we don’t want to repeat it.

      Your trip is definitely an inspiration. From it, you’ll have so many stories and memories that’ll last you a lifetime. Things you’ll actually remember more than what you filled that expensive house with!

      Just saw some of your travel photos. Looks like you two are having a blast!

  • Hi Benny. For sure, we all seem to have different ideas of success in our lives. For some, it seems to be all about material wealth 24/7 whereas some others forsake material wants for intangible things like peace of mind.

    For me, ultimate success is in being paid to do something you enjoy, not having to compromise on anything for lack of money, having good health and long life with a happy family and leaving behind a lasting and positive legacy.

    -Jean

    • Thanks for sharing your definition of success. I know many of us here would agree with what you said.

  • Cindy

    How can i add something if you listed (great job btw) practically everything!

    What can i say…hmm..i say satisfaction and fulfillment. Because even if you have all those things listed (which are goals of many i agree)but your not fulfilled, if you have that “is that all there is?” feeling then your still not successful.

    • Thanks Cindy! That’s a great addition to the list. Thanks for sharing that.

  • Benny I could not have said it better ! That was such a wonerful post! Thank you for doing this great job!! It’s a perfect 20 and I’m so glad I read it ! 😉 Way to go !

    • Hi Colleen! Wow thanks so much! Sometimes I hit “publish” and don’t feel good about a post, so it’s great to read comments like yours.

  • Hey Benny,

    I hadn’t been here in a while and I thought I’d stop by. It looks like you’re really crushing it. Its funny because the definition of success evolves over time. What success was to me years ago is completely different. The other day I saw this cover story about a woman who used to be the executive assistant to the CEO at GAP and now she’s a VC at Kleiner Perkins. I only remember her because a friend of mine was an intern there and go to fly in the corporate jet with her and the CEO. He talked about her like she was the standard that we should all aspire to and looking back I realize that was his standard, not mine. I think we’re going to see some really dramatic changes in the next year.

    • Hey Srini! Always great to see you stop by here. Everyone has a different standard for sure. The long hours at a meaningless job, but with great pay is success to some. I just think there’s a smaller group that doesn’t want that. Those are people like you and I. Those are the people who quit their jobs and go travelling for a year. Those are the people who don’t have the big fancy stuff, but you know they’re really rich. Other things are more important to them and that is success for them. The definition of success definitely evolves. I’m sure the next generation will have something different than what we believe.

  • One sad thing however is that i have not been able to lay my hands on 4HWW.

    It sucks I can’t order things online here.

    Sheyi

  • I love this. All 20 are things that speak strongly to me. I read them and I’m like “YES! That’s what I want.” 🙂

    These 20 things are the epitome of success, in my opinion. No matter who you are, if you can create even half of these for yourself, you’ll get what you’re looking for.

  • Hey Benny! I just came across your blog for the first time. Really impressed! This is a great post! The world tells us the nice cars, the nice houses, etc. define how successful we are. The things that really matter are far different from those things. It’s travelling, it’s living, and it’s being with people that make it all worthwhile.

    Thanks for your post. Please check out my own new blog and let me know what you think. I’m trying to do a little world changing myself. http://acollegekid.com/category/blog-2/

    Thanks,
    Jeremy Williams

    • Those things you mentioned are what makes life great. Again congrats on starting your blog! Start changing the world one reader at a time, right?

  • Steven Papas

    This is great, and oh so true. Your first point pretty much sums up everything that I believe would be the best part: freedom. To be able to be your own boss, carry your own weight, and do what you want is practically mind boggling. Compared to what most people go through just to “bring home the bacon” is insane. A 9-5 job where you sit in a cubical with terrible chairs, doing a awful job just so you can retire when your 80 does NOT sound like something worth doing. I would rather be a hobo.
    Thanks for posting this.

  • Dude, this list is spot-on! I had to tweet it to my friends. After reading through the list, most of them sounds like my life now and the life I’m designing for the future.

    It’s hard to find just one from the list that sums it up for me. But if I had to choose, I would say these are my top 3:

    1. Having Freedom
    4. Living My Passion
    18. Controlling My Own Time

    • I appreciate the retweet Antwon! It’s definitely hard to choose a top three, but the ones you picked I would say the majority of my readers would choose as well. We’re a different generation and we value that more than rich and unhappy. Thanks again for coming by!

  • Very well developed definition of success. For me it comes down to one thing however; mastery of the will. With mastery of the will, all of the above items will come to you if that’s what you desire. You can read more about my rationale and definition by visiting http://agaponzie.blogspot.com/2011/12/redefining-success.html

  • Blake Argo

    This is a great list of things to make you success in life. My idea of success relates more to how successful in business. I am passionate about my work. I have found that my success in the business world is due to the fact that I follow the careers of those who are more successful than myself. I have been following the career of Mark Hurd for the last few years now, since he has taken over at Oracle. I have also been impressed with his leadership and ability to turn a company around. I have closely following his statements at OpenWorld 2016 and I am excited for what he has in store and I am looking forward to the direction that Oracle is heading in the next few years.