What is Success?


A quick search for the definition of success resulted in the above. And unfortunately, I kind of disagree with both of them

I don’t know about you but I have been asking myself this question for a long time. What is success? What does it mean to be “successful”? Who gets to define that success? Is success in the process or is it literally just the reward? Sometimes the idea of success is very hard to grasp when a person doesn’t have either of the above traits in their lives. I have not accomplished my aim yet, shoot most days I am not sure what I am aiming at to be honest. And popularity and profit!? HA! Whatever… So how does a guy like me look at his life under those criteria and say I am successful? I think a bit of redefining would be helpful.

So often we define success as #2 in the above definitions. “The attainment of popularity of profit.” It is the main drive of our culture but it makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit to be completely honest. Is profit really success? Or did the success actually come before the profit? And popularity? Am I really successful because people know me or like me or want to take pictures of me as I leave the grocery store with toilet paper and ramen noodles? Seriously? (and no, people don’t actually take my picture… 😉 ) If popularity means success, I quit. I don’t want it.

At least #1 above is worthy of some discussion. “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” I see where they are coming from on that one. Finish the race, win the game, trade for a living. Success comes from accomplishment. But I still think it’s more than that.

I just can’t quite wrap my head around these definitions. I need something meatier, something more lasting and meaningful. My biggest problem with them is that success only can be claimed after all of the actions that success requires are complete. Success is the end game only. Win the Super Bowl, get the girl and go to Disney world. SUCCESS!!  but there is nothing mentioned about success in the process, or the success of the process. I think you have to become successful before you get paid to be successful.


So I want to propose a new definition of success. This is my definition that I will use from now on. Webster may not like it but who the hell is Webster anyway?

“Success is simply the opportunity for accomplishment”

See the most hopeless feeling in the world is not to try, and then fail. The greatest sense of hopelessness comes from feeling that there is no opportunity to accomplish, no chance at success. As a trader that translates into seeing a market that moves every day and feeling like you do not have the tools to make money from it. There is no hope of accomplishing. And then the reality hits us that winning is all in the preparation. We stop asking the wrong questions and start asking the right ones like am I working hard, refining, stretching and growing? I think of it like stepping up to the plate in baseball. Just being in the box with a chance to swing makes you successful. 1000’s of at bats in little league and high school and college have prepared a person to step into a major league batters box, and get paid to do it. The success was early on, and then payment for that success became inevitable.

Make getting paid as a trader inevitable. Accomplish the 1000’s of trades necessary to learn the game, then go get paid for that success.



3 thoughts on “What is Success?

  1. Liked the Steven Pressfield article you put on twitter. Sorry to post a couple of questions here, but does Mat Lacoco have a blog and do you ever bump into Duane Hope? The Colorado connection and all. I’d love to hear how he’s doing since the 17-18 weeks we saw on the TFL/Podcast.

    1. Simon,

      I have never met Duane actually. I hope to but he lives a hundred or so miles from me and haven’t had the chance to connect yet. If I talk to him, I will let you know.


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