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Dear friends,

This photo showed up in my twitter feed today …

… and it occurred to me that there are different ways to interpret this message.

One way frames success as a social achievement, the attention of others.  If that is how we think of success, then this message isn’t necessarily true.  You could “do what you love” all your life, and never achieve success in the eyes of others.  (Reminds me of that old book, “Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow.”  Will it really, though?)

Another way to interpret the message is to think of success as the natural outcome of doing what you love.  You’ll be happy, your skills will increase, and your soul will feel fulfilled, whether or not anyone else notices.

The first part of the message holds true, in either case.  You can’t “aim for” success.  Success is not a goal, it’s the outcome of good work.  People get confused about this, saying they want to be a rock star or a best-selling author or a professional athlete.  They’re confusing the goal with the work.  If you want to be a rock star, work on becoming a great musician – if you want to be a best-selling author, work on your writing skills (and actually write a book) – if you want to be a professional athlete, master the game.  Master yourself.  Whatever success you attain will come from the work.  Success itself isn’t a goal, it’s a result.

Be a success in your own mind.  I believe in you.