What is True Success And Why Isn’t It Sexier?

While 97% of us agree about what "true success" means, we lust after other things at its expense. Maybe it's a measurement problem.


According to a Gallup poll97 percent of Americans believe true success is following your own interests and talents to become the best you can be at what you care about most.

I presume nearly all non-center-of-the-universers believe the same, too. This Canadian does. Since you didn’t ask, here’s what I believe true success is:

True success is having a great time unselfishly pumping up your comfort zone as far as you can into its potential.

What’s your definition?

And why don’t you, I, and approximately 99.7 percent of Americans live accordingly?

Why Do We Give True Success the Cold Shoulder?

Instead of madly pursuing “True Success,” we treat it like an ugly duckling at the dance. We ignore it and lose our minds fighting over the sexy seductresses of Wealth and Status. 

“Let me mess around with the twins of Wealth and Status first,” we tell ourselves, “then I’ll settle down with humble True Success after.” And even if we manage to stay pure, we can’t resist ogling and fantasizing from the corner of our eyes. 

What’s wrong with us? 

Our monkey brains, mostly.

What If True Success Were Easier to See?

But it also doesn’t help that wealth, status, and sexiness are measurable. And they’re visible to others.

But imagine if, like in a Black Mirror episode, holographic scores from 1 to 100 floated above our heads on metrics like “Relationship Quality,” “Life Expectancy,” “Fulfillment Level,” and, I dunno, “Full of Shit-ness.”

Don’t you think this would shift our behavior in more success-filing directions? 

It would for me.

I wouldn’t want you and everyone else to be able to see how full of sh*t I am. But I would love private access to such objective, true-success-focused metrics. It would help me find my weaknesses, push myself in the right direction, and track my progress. 

Maybe one day in the not-too-distant future, gadgets like those Apple Vision goggles will make this all an (augmented) reality. Companies like Tally Health are already offering something along the lines of a life expectancy measure, which I’d love to get. 

How Can You Track True Success?

Until our iPhones’ Health apps can tell us our True Success Scores, what options do we have? 

One way might be to figure out how you want to measure success in life, then keep a journal subjectively tracking your progress. But if you’re as full of sh*t as I am, you’ll fudge those scores. So it’d be nice to get an outside perspective. 

With that in mind, I put together a little something: 

True success assessment screenshot.

Ready to Assess Your True Success?

I prepared twenty multiple-choice questions for a “Comfort Zone Assessment” that gauges how well you’re doing in the six areas that are crucial for true success in life:

  • Relationships
  • Physical Health
  • Core Self (Sense of purpose, self-awareness, etc.)
  • Adventurousness
  • Information Diet
  • Career and Finances

The assessment is crude, but it’s a start. It’s also free. I also tried to make it fun and useful, and it’s only 20 questions. 

Give it a shot

No way you’ll get 100 out of 100 across the board, so your results might help you identify your weaknesses, a.k.a. opportunities for being more truly successful.

Then What?

After you take the assessment, if you’re unsure about your next steps or want to discuss your results, feel free to reach out to me. Your feedback will be invaluable in refining this tool to be even more beneficial for everyone.

And if you’re looking for more ideas and inspiration for pursuing true success (and maybe getting lucky with a bit of wealth and success along the way), you may enjoy these:

About the author

👋 I'm Chris. Everything you read on TheZag.com is my fault. This site is like a gym for your comfort zone, full of challenges to make your status quo sexier. Join my 'Consider This' newsletter for a fun new challenge every 10 days. Try it!

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The Zag shares my adventures off of the boring beaten paths of life and ideas for finding your own unfollowable path.