Angels and Assholes #13…2016 - The Irony of Success

My dictionary defines success as: 1) A favorable or satisfying outcome; 2) The gaining of wealth, fame, rank, etc. The first, although not very specific, I agree with. The second I would say is what most people ‘think’ success is.

In my novel, “Will,” coming out this fall, one of the themes is: simple answers to complex problems. When I’m speaking to college classes on money and investing, the question of success frequently comes up. At first it seemed complex to identify success since everyone thinks they have a different idea of what they want in their lives to be successful. Eventually I realized that in talking about ‘financial success’ I was really talking about the only thing in life that every (sane) person wants: happiness.

The philosophers since the beginning of time have told us this and our government, in a lucid moment, even guaranteed the pursuit of it. The definition of success, I’d say, is achieving happiness. So, is the means of attaining happiness complex? Well, you might be able to guess, I’d say angels are happy, assholes are not. So, what’s an angel?

The Pope says we have a responsibility to our fellow man and woman. The Dalai Lama says: "If you contribute to other people’s happiness you’ll find the true goal, the true meaning of life.” Ok, you might expect these two to say what they said, but a guy who was pretty smart, Albert Einstein said: “Only a life living for others is worth living.”

So, it would seem, ironically, that angels are successful (happy) because they make other people happy. Assholes, who only try to make themselves happy, ironically, no matter how rich or famous, are not successful.

Just a thought.