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Thread: How can people judge success . . .

  1. #1
    Amelia G's Avatar chick in charge
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    Default How can people judge success . . .

    So, I notice that, when there have been threads about how to judge success, everyone claims that they have no mental snapshot whatsoever of the point at which they start considering someone else successful. Yet I've certainly come across people in life who will tell someone else "oh, you can afford blah blah" and I've just seen it on these forums today too.

    So clearly there is a point at which folks consider others materially successful.

    Why won't anyone cop to it or provide their secret paycheck amount they are thinking of? Or is it just that, no matter what someone else's priorities are, if someone has somehow afforded something different from the beholder, the beholder gets to judge them as crazy successful and ideally marks to rip off?

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    Kidthorazine's Avatar hippiepotsmoker
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    I tend to evaluate success by happy someone is, because ultimately that's what really matters, you could be filthy rich but if your miserable you obviously haven't succeeded in life the way you wanted to. People put far too much importance on money and material goods, it's sickening really.

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    Mindgames's Avatar A guy who makes girls
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    The number changes each time you ask the question. Successful as compared to who, and in what?

    My sound engineer has his own band, playing local bars, weddings, funerals and considers it a success if he gets one gig a weekend - but they barely make enough to pay for the rental van. As they play for the kicks, I think his definition is perfectly valid.Yesterday I heard the phrase "Only double platinum? What went wrong?" - which in the context of a 7-digit marketing campaign was equally valid.

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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    I'm successful... in surprising my self every day.

  5. #5
    Bikerpunk's Avatar Ill-intentioned bad apple
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    "Materially successful" = has the lifestyle he or she wants. Whether that's a trailer in Ponchatoulas or a mansion in the Hamptons.

    I've seen so many people fucked up about money. I've been around people with lots of it, and it's amazing that what you or I consider a lot of cash is nothing to them. The most disheartening thing is going to a Thanksgiving dinner (where apparently, you are thankful for whatever you have) and the one-upmanship starts. Someone make $2M in business deals that year. Big deal. They started out with $22M in a trust fund, so that's nothing - YOUR COUSIN made $5M.

    To me success is doing what you want. I'm partially successful. I do what I enjoy as a career but not the other stuff that I would like, hence me stretching out my finances to try a different set of sidelines.

    The most successful person I know lives in state-assisted housing, making a couple hundred a month under the table.

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    Aza's Avatar Extradimensional Penguin
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    Successful = Happy!

    Monetary success doesn't really exist, I've decided. Just because my neighbor can afford that Jaguar or that jacuzzi doesn't mean he's successful, even in his own eyes. In mine, he just looks like someone trying to compensate for some other aspect of his life that he detests. In his, perhaps he'd rather have a Lamborghini than a Jag, or a pool rather than a hot tub... or perhaps he burned every last dollar he had on the luxuries he already has and is now in debt up to his toupee. Hardly a mark of success, that.

    I don't think there is any such thing as "material success." Anyone who hasn't yet experienced a greater joy in life than money is about as far from success as I can imagine.

  7. #7
    malcolm's Avatar the bored one.
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    it depedns on the type of success we're talking about here. if we're talking money successful, i guess being able to live comfortably through a recession would be one way of doing so. the thing is though, you still gotta work at it to keep successful. it's not so much getting there but maintaining it that's hard.

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    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    The thing that bothers me about it, is the way some people assume that being successful is easy. That because someone seemingly has a lot more money than you do, that it's ok to steal it. Because it seems like it was so EASY for them, and life is so hard for other people... Well, obviously there are exceptions, and there are asshole trust fund babies, that waste money, never had to work for it, and treat people like crap. But the majority of the people that are financially successful, worked hard to get there. Or were very smart about their finances. So it may seem like money is no problem for them, or they don't have to work hard for it. But the reality is that at some point, they worked their asses off. Maybe by putting themselves through school, working two jobs, studying like crazy, in order to get a degree that now earns them good money. Or maybe they worked really hard to get their business going, and now they can sit back and relax. But not that many people just had it totally easy. They either worked really hard, or they were very smart. And either way, you have to give them props for pulling it off. Even if they seem lazy now, or like they aren't working as hard as you are. Maybe they were just really smart, and came up with some great plan to make money. Maybe it wasn't that hard at all. But they had the idea, and you didn't. So you can't blame them for that...

  9. #9
    Amelia G's Avatar chick in charge
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    Great post and excellent points, TheDeathKnight and Mindgames.

    Everyone else, this is exactly what I am talking about. Y'all will swear that you have no opinion at all about material success in the same breath that you assume someone driving a Jaguar is required to have an effed up life in some other respect or you are mad that people working in high finance might mention what is going on in their lives at a family gathering. So you say you have no barometer for material success, yet there is a car price range or a business deal size range where you do consider someone over your mental line, in terms of material success.

    Unless you are a Jaguar afficionado, you probably can't clock precisely what a specific Jag is worth and you don't know what percent of the owner's income that car is. Someone can close a crazy big business deal without having mountains of personal money. So it seems like third parties are in no position to judge. Yet clearly they do judge.

    So I'd really like to know where that magic cut-off is where you consider someone to be materially successful. Not successful in love or when beheld by their deity or anything like that, but materially successful. Anyone want to admit what their measure of material success is?

  10. #10
    Aza's Avatar Extradimensional Penguin
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    I was using a Jag as an example of a typically expensive car able to be purchased by what the majority of the world seems to consider a sizable income. If I HAD to put a monetary number on what is typically considered success (not by me but by the majority of the world), I'd say... six figures is "wealthy."

    Also, I don't recall saying that the expensive car owner (insert whatever car you care to if the Jag reference was too specific; I just grabbed at the first image to enter my head) is required to have an effed up life just because he's rich... but I've met VERY few rich people who are genuinely happy.

    Let me revise, since I apparently unintentionally upset someone: "monetary success" (as much as I hate to pair those words) is either making enough money or being skilled enough at managing it that you're never wondering where your next meal is going to come from. That's as much "monetary success" as I'd ever need.

    But I still insist that, at least in my OWN head, money is no mark of success.

  11. #11
    Ajax Knucklebones's Avatar God fearing atheist
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    Material success for me is basically what I have now, but, also to be able to pay for all "emergencies" that come up without a problem. That doesn't always happen. I've never been one to rate success by "big" material things and I'm pretty practical (At least in my own mind). I always wanted the white picket fence, surrounded by a house with a 2 car garage, 1.2 kids and a wife. I have that. So to me...Success achieved. My bills are always paid...I don't have creditors constantly calling me...And I have no problem buying necessities when I need them. Works for me.

  12. #12
    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    I think the reason Amelia was asking, is because some people in the Keiko thread were implying that if someone makes six figures, or millions, then if they leave their purse behind with $200 in it, then it's no big deal to steal it. It's considered to be a "stupid tax" or a punishment for being forgetful. But we all feel bad if that person is "poor" and that $200 was most of their rent money... The question is: Where is your dollar value cutoff, where you figure that someone really doesn't "need" their money, and it doesn't really matter if they lose some of it by having their purse stolen, etc...

    Because I think that's generally the rationalization of all thieves. If that criminal that took Keiko's money is REALLY poor, and they have no morals, they will consider that if you have $200, then you are WAY richer than they are, so why not take it from you? Or if they steal your car, they feel ok about it, because they don't even own a car. Or even have a job. So they figure if you have a car, or a job, you must have WAY more than they do, so it's ok to steal from you. If you are "stupid" enough to park on the street, or not have an alarm, they you "deserve" to have your car burgled. That's the attitude of a lot of thieves. They don't care about the facts of the situation. All they know is that you are doing better than they are, so in their mind, it's ok to take from you.

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    Kidthorazine's Avatar hippiepotsmoker
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia G
    Great post and excellent points, TheDeathKnight and Mindgames.

    Everyone else, this is exactly what I am talking about. Y'all will swear that you have no opinion at all about material success in the same breath that you assume someone driving a Jaguar is required to have an effed up life in some other respect
    I don't feel that, if the guy in the Jaguar is happy then he's successful, my point was that having a lot of money does not equal success, unless that's truly what makes you happy, in which case I guess it would be.

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    Aza's Avatar Extradimensional Penguin
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    I'd like to add that I'm not one of those people who considers someone else more successful than I simply because they chose to buy a few luxuries. I don't necessarily know where the money for said luxuries came from, so I can't accurately gauge their "success" level. My ex, during the half-a-year before we broke up, added to her collection several new outfits from Ann Taylor Loft, a $200 purebred miniature American Eskimo (stupidest dog I ever met), a computer server tower, and over $300 in art supplies, among other smaller yet equally frivolous items, all on an Apartment Manager salary. I later found out that she'd claimed the comp tower and art supplies from an abandoned apartment unit, and that the money for everything else was among $4,000 or more that she embezzled from the company before they discovered the crime and fired her.

    This incident has ingrained itself so firmly in my head (mostly because I'd never before had an s.o. put one over on me, or indeed on everyone she knew, so thoroughly) that I literally cannot bring myself to consider anyone monetarily successful just because they can appear to afford something I can't.

    Besides, even if they earned the money they spent on whatever they purchased (though I insist there's no way to know for sure unless you're the one personally signing their paychecks), all that proves is that they have different values than I do. Were I to decide that money was of that much importance in my life, I WOULD have more than I do, and I'd be able to afford everything Jag-Driver-Guy can. If I really wanted an expensive car, or an Armani suit, or whatever else labels someone as "successful" to the general public, I'd find a way to afford it and purchase it. As it is, I have to force myself to look through the rest of the world's eyes in order to see this "magic cut-off" point that Amelia speaks of, and even then I can't really acknowledge its validity.

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    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    I guess to find the cut-off point, you have to ask people:

    "If you found a purse on the ground, and it had $100 in it, and the ATM receipt showed they had $500,000 in the bank, would you take the $100?"

    Because it sounds like some people would, because they feel like that person will never miss $100, out of $500,000.

    So for the people who would take it, what is the cut off?
    How poor does someone have to be, before you feel "sorry" for them,
    and return their money?

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    Kidthorazine's Avatar hippiepotsmoker
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeathKnight
    I guess to find the cut-off point, you have to ask people:

    "If you found a purse on the ground, and it had $100 in it, and the ATM receipt showed they had $500,000 in the bank, would you take the $100?"

    Because it sounds like some people would, because they feel like that person will never miss $100, out of $500,000.

    So for the people who would take it, what is the cut off?
    How poor does someone have to be, before you feel "sorry" for them,
    and return their money?
    there is no cutoff for something like that, someone with half a million in the bank could easilly be 3/4 of a million in debt.

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    Ajax Knucklebones's Avatar God fearing atheist
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeathKnight
    I guess to find the cut-off point, you have to ask people:

    "If you found a purse on the ground, and it had $100 in it, and the ATM receipt showed they had $500,000 in the bank, would you take the $100?"

    Because it sounds like some people would, because they feel like that person will never miss $100, out of $500,000.

    So for the people who would take it, what is the cut off?
    How poor does someone have to be, before you feel "sorry" for them,
    and return their money?

    Hmmmmm...That's a good question, actually. I probably might take it at that point.

  18. #18
    TheDeathKnight's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    AH HA!!! THIEF!!!!!


  19. #19
    Amelia G's Avatar chick in charge
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajax Knucklebones
    Hmmmmm...That's a good question, actually. I probably might take it at that point.

    I know you are kidding, but can I take this opportunity to point out that money is generally not the only valuable thing in someone's purse. No matter how much dough is on the ATM receipt, they probably still need their ID, personal photos, phone numbers of people they know, etc. Plus they might have access to a phat bank account they don't really get to spend on personal stuff.

  20. #20
    Mr Karl's Avatar Senior Member
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    Id's a real pain to replace................and 'they' dont even need your ATM card to get into your account, I've had my account robbed a few times and I've got no idea where or how...............

    anyways.....success, I don't know what success really is anymore..........at this point in life I have a job where I bring home 510 dollars a week after tax(tax is around 130) I have a company van that I take home and a gas card.I don't have to work more than 8 hours a day. With budgeting I can pay the mortgage and all the bills with what I bring home and have some left over for my own use. I work in a very exclusive field that seems alright at staying busy despite what's going on in the world these days....................But, I make a lot less than a lot of people that I know.

    I don't know, am I successful?

  21. #21
    and the porridge was just
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    Default Re: How can people judge success . . .

    i think ill feel successful the day someone recognizes me in my daily life.

    though thats hard because i live in PJS and sweatshirts.

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