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How do you define success?

.       As twenty somethings we’re constantly reminded to evaluate whether we are truly successful or not. Sometimes it’s by our dear, but short-sighted parents or even our clueless friends. No, I never set out to become a lawyer. I also don’t think most people set out to become weekend warriors either. Everyone just happens to be between and betwixt their own immediate and ultimate goals. Some might say they want to be rich. Others might say they want to be happy. Success seems to be different for everyone, but I think true success is something that never ceases being intrinsically successful; it is a much simpler concept than people think. True success, on my view (and others’ view, I would guess), is to achieve inspirationality, or a success that never ceases being successful.

.      First it must be explained that success is a form of survival. Survival is, of course, maintaining some semblance of life. For example, imagine a person named Paul who has lived x amount of years and a person named Peter who has lived x-1 amount of years (or 1 year less than Paul). The property of success lies in the fact that Eric has outlived Peter by that 1 year. In this case, it is by virtue of science that it can be said Paul has had a more successful life than Peter, as Paul has been able to carry out more life projects than Peter (had an extra year to save up a little more money and donate to just a few more charities than Peter). So we acknowledge that Peter has done just that much more than Peter and we can say that his extra bit of survival makes him slightly more successful than Peter. To survive is to succeed, then.

.       Second, it must be explained that to survive even after death is to be more successful. That is, to survive past one’s physical decomposition is more worthy of praise (and is just flat out more impressive) than to merely survive while actually alive. For example, imagine a person Eric who has lived x years and also a person Steph who lived x years (or the exact same amount of years as Eric; both having died at the same exact time). Both Eric and Steph survived for an identical amount of time and amassed 1 billion dollars. Steph bought many houses, cars and took many vacations to random places. Eric, though, spent money renovating old rec centers, helped build hospitals, funded anti-racism coalitions and spoke at them, and even donated most of his wealth to charities. After their concurrent deaths (say 100 years from then), only Eric is still spoken about while Steph has long been forgotten. That is, Steph became irrelevant (totally dead; physically and metaphysically dead), while Eric is still relevant (only physically dead, but still metaphysically alive). More clearly, Eric has inspired others to maintain his presence even after his body has decomposed (bringing his name up as someone who inspired them to not be racist, etc.), while Steph did not inspire others to keep his presence in the same way (his tombstone being the only thing left to remind someone of him). In this case, Eric achieved a level of post-death survival by achieving inspirationality (has his image in textbooks, national holidays, etc). To survive past death is to be truly successful, then.

.       It seems, then, that  inspirationality is what you should look for when trying to deem someone successful. That is, if you’ve managed to make an impression on someone and have got that person to willingly keep you alive even after you’ve left (temporarily or permanently; moved to a new city or actual died), then you can consider yourself successful. For example, Eric gives Peter 10 dollars and gives Paul 10 seconds of advice (some sentences). Peter uses the 10 dollars on a burger while Paul uses the advice in his life everyday (the advice being to hold the door open for old ladies). In this case, the 10 dollars disappeared (or died) as soon as they were given, but the advice has been used numerous times (or survived). Had Eric given both Peter and Paul 10 dollars, Eric might not have been any more relevant after death. But because Eric gave Paul inspiration, he is still influencing the world he long ago died in.  It seems totally obvious that the things that can outlive other things are more successful. So to be inspirational is to be successful forever, and to be rich is to be successful for a moment.