Take a moment to think about your life. Picture your family. Think about your career. Now, ask yourself if the following phrase applies to you, right now, in this exact moment when discussing your life in general.
There is no place in the world I would rather be and nothing in the world I would rather be doing.
If that phrase rings true and you can say it with absolute conviction, congratulations. You are a success. If it does not, you are not a success. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, how many degrees line your wall, how many speeches you give, how admired you are in your community, or how many hours to devote to charitable work. When it comes to investing the 477,700 effective hours you have before you die, you are a failure. But it doesn’t have to remain that way.
Figure out what it would take to make that statement true for your own life. Then, reverse engineer the decisions necessary to get there, working backwards from your future self to the present. Finally, do something about it. Never forget that the world belongs to those “who thought and acted, while [others] wished and prayed“.
If you find yourself unable to start, remember the warning John Quincy Adams left for posterity: “La molesse est douce, et sa suite est cruelle.”