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What Is Success?

Updated: May 7, 2021

M3-O gives his view on what makes a person successful.

So, what is success? Most people, especially musical artists, measure success based on other people’s journeys and accomplishments which then must be confirmed through some form of external validation from others, usually measuring against stereotypical notions of success.

What do I mean by other people’s journeys, accomplishments, and stereotypical notions of success? If we consider one modern example of “success” within the music industry; someone simply says “I want to be a DJ”, immediately most people’s expectation and measure of success would point straight to a vision of the commercial superstar DJ – you know the one - some guy stood behind a 4 deck CDJ set-up on a massive aluminium frame stage busting out the first letter of the YMCA dance routine followed by a shaky camera footage montage of confetti cannons and smoke machines exploding all over a massive crowd of fans at an outdoor festival somewhere in mainland Europe.

In reality, to most people (external validators), a person wouldn’t generally be seen as a success in the commercial arena until they had made it on to the DJ Mag Top 100 or something close to that level of recognition. The same can also be said for niche and genre specific DJs who mighty be measured against relative and comparative impressions of success within a genre, say ascending to the first, second or third line of a flyer for a genre defining event or something similar.

All of the above is what success would look like right? And anything short of the above would mean the person was unsuccessful right? There is no doubt that all the above can be considered success. However, let’s look at the definition of success for a moment. ‘Success - the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.’ Google Dictionary 2021. If we take success purely on it’s definition it blows the whole concept wide open for each and every one of us to achieve our own success against our own measure.

Let’s say your aim was to be a DJ and play in a local nightclub and after a few years you get to perform your first booking in a local nightclub, you are a success. It’s that simple. In this example the aim and the measure of success was clear and didn’t require any comparison against another person’s journey or success in order to achieve it. This point shouldn’t be interpreted as advice against looking up to people, following in footsteps as far as they align with your own, learning form other people’s mistakes, being aware of who or what is going on around you or even aiming for the highest heights in whatever you do. Simply aim and succeed on your own terms.

Moses "M3-O" Olivier

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