Michael Timothy Johnson on how Success is a relative concept


Success is the magic word. It’s the word that attracts or repels more success. Unfortunately, we have put its meaning in the box for too long. And many are beginning to challenge the stale understanding. Among them is a 27-year-old entrepreneur from Jacksonville, Florida, Michael Timothy Johnson, who believes that being successful is a relative concept. Is it a young mind’s fanciful idea or a pearly of age-old wisdom whose time has come? Let’s hear it straight from Michael Timothy Johnson and find out.

To begin with, Michael believes that money is not the only definition of success. He says, “Since times unmemorable, we have equated success with money. And practically speaking, everyone cannot have or make the same amount of money. The concept of rich and poor will continue to co-exist. Therefore, money is not the measure of success. It simply is a tool that can help bring about success. And just like money, other tools attract success too. Fortunately, those tools are available to everyone at all times. Do you know what those are? They are knowledge, willingness, courage, and a strong frame of mind. If you’ve ever read biographies of successful people – entrepreneurs, actors, scientists, philanthropists - you’ll see that they all had a vision, larger than life. They were driven to prove and improve themselves. Their success came from the desire to succeed, and the willingness to sacrifice laziness, stupidity, fear, and confusion. Their worldly success came from inside them. In a way, they’d succeeded when they decided to succeed.”

For him, “It’s all about being in love with what you do. Haven’t we all heard about that young, dynamic, and successful individual who suddenly decided to either take his/her own life or give up everything and retreat to the mountains? What does this tell us? I think that people who achieve everything they had set out to do often don’t know what to do next; or for some reason, continue to have a poverty-stricken internal life. And that’s sad. But if there’s one thing I have learned from such incidents and what I choose to remind myself of every time I hear something like this happen is to ask myself – am I happy right now? Am I happy doing what I’m doing? If yes, then what aspect of my work is helping to keep my spirits alive? And if not then how to do deal with it? These may seem like existential questions, best reserved for the psychologist’s clinic but I have come to realize that success is determined by asking ourselves those questions, the answers to which we take for granted.”

As a ‘successful’ entrepreneur, Michael derives his understanding from the results his work yields. He says, “For me, success was never the goal. I went for acquiring and growing money to give myself a life I wanted, provide for my family, and share my lessons with others. I feel most successful, joyful, and content whenever young entrepreneurs who attend my lectures come to me and tell me that I have helped them improve their thinking and their life. That feeling cannot be measured by money or be rewarded. That feeling is sacred. For me, that reverence is a success.”

Perhaps we’ve been asking ourselves the wrong question all along. Maybe the right question isn’t, “Am I successful according to others” but “Am I successful according to me and my set of values.” According to Michael, this new mindset will allow us to define success for ourselves or seek the right guidance when needed. As he expertly says, “Your definition of success is the real definition of success.” We rest our case.