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Will I Be Successful? (Define Success Before You Chase It) #3

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Will I Be Successful? 

(Define Success BEFORE You Chase It)

"Before You Spend Several Years Hunting For Success, Spend a Few Minutes to Define It."

Stop daydreaming and asking yourself if you will be successful and plan it out.

Other than "The Secret to the Universe," defining success may be the most important key to achieving success.

Defining success is beyond just having goals.

It is the process of DEFINING and EXECUTING specific small goals.

Here's the formula:

Long-Term Goal (Success) =

  • Small Goal (success)
  • Small Goal (success) 
  • Small Goal (success)
  • Small Goal (success)

"Define Success Before You Spend Years Chasing It"

Forward by Good Looking Loser (Chris)

"The Ultimate Successful Failure: Keith Christensen (In Loving Memory)"

Let me tell you about one of my best friends, Keith Christensen. I will have to tread the topic of "Keith" lightly; in many ways he is still a role model for my friends and I. His brother, Erik, is actually on the forum and is the kid that shoots most of the pickup videos with me. This quick-glimpse of Keith hardly sheds much insight on his complex life of achievement, triumph and loyalty.

Keith was Scotty before there was Scotty.

Doing crazy stuff. Fearless (arguably, sometimes stupid and reckless).

He got kicked off the University of Miami (Ohio) football team because he threw Ben Roethlisberger on the ground and fought 4 of his teammates who tried to jump him. He defended myself and a teammate from two guys who had baseball bats and were trying to seriously injure us, only to break his own ribs and play the hockey game the following morning, while spitting up blood until he passed out and went back to the hospital. I even heard that he once broke up an armed robbery with his bare hands when 2 thugs were assaulting an old lady that wouldn't surrender her purse.

A lot of people talk it, but Keith literally lived everyday like it was his life. As I said, sometimes reckless, but nothing short of "wow."

My relationship with him was "tumultuous" to say the least. When I was in 11th grade, we were on the same hockey team and he WAS NOT my friend. He'd bully me (as he would to other kids too). He outweighed me by 35lbs. It wasn't until I attacked him in the parking lot with a broken hockey stick and bloody his face (he had wood in his neck) did we become friends. Years later, still friends but seeking revenge, Keith shoved me into the ground in front of 2 hot girls that we were vacationing with. But by that point I had 18 months of steroid use behind me and I threw him on the ground, kept pushing his face into the snow until he started bleeding and screaming for me to stop. Friends again.

He was so drunk and started crying in front of Audrey and Jana, explaining to all of us why he was the biggest failure the world had ever seen. None of us had any idea what he was babbling about.

After the incident in Quebec, we became best friends (funny how that works...). I really got to know the kid. He had a lot going for him, even though he just recently got kicked off the University of Miami (Ohio) football team. He had a good family, good friends, good enough grades to get into business school, good connections, got hot girls and he was still a mid-major division I athlete. Yet he constantly reminded himself (and our friends) that he was "the failure" out of the group. Hardly.

The one thing that was still on all of our minds was how our super-talented hockey team never won any championships. For one reason or another we couldn't get it done. It especially ate on Keith, even though he wasn't necessarily one of the best players on the team. In 2005, we wanted to take one last try at winning a national championship. It was a long shot; we hadn't played together in 3 years and we never finished any better than #3 in the regional tournaments despite being the preseason favorites basically every year. We entered a 12-week tournament in Huntington Beach California as an 'at-large' team, with most people (including most of our parents) expecting us to get blown out.

Fast forward to July 27th, the best 12 weeks of my life- we upset #1 California Gold (Huntington Beach AAA) 5-2 to win the national championship after beating the University of Michigan(?) 9-8 in a triple overtime bloodbath just 18hours before. We did it, we were on television. I even had the final goal and 2 assists.

There was nothing but smiles and tears of joy from our 13-man team and the family and friends that came out to California on short notice.

Well almost all smiles and tears of joy.

In what was a host of bizarre moments following the game (up until my flight out the following morning), Keith separated himself from everyone. It wasn't like him to do that; he was actually the 'life of the party' in most cases. Only some of us saw him (a lot of us just got really drunk and partied with chicks until 6am) and others didn't want to be around his strange behavior.

We were roommates and he got back to the room at 8am and you'd never think that he was 12hours removed from the greatest sports accomplishment most of us had ever had. He was totally miserable, talking about how he's "the failure" and how for some reason he can't achieve his goals, enjoy accomplishments and he'll never be successful. He even told me he took a lethal amount of medications the night before and he wanted to die (I don't actually think this was true however, maybe he thought he did...). He was 6-1 240lbs of solid muscle, it would take a lot to kill him.

He kept saying, "I don't know what is next for me." "You guys are going on to graduate school, big jobs and I'm going nowhere. I hate myself and I want to die." "I should die tonight."

Keith continued to live that reality and on February 2, 2009- he was murdered in a robbery (notably his actions saved an innocent girl's life).

While the autopsy showed that he might have had sports-related brain damage starting in late teens- in hindsight, Keith's lifetime battles with depression/erratic behavior had a lot to do with his relationship with success.

He loved to work hard and enjoyed the process of achievement, yet for some reason he never felt any rewarding feelings when he seemingly reached (or surpassed) his goals. He never considered himself successful. In fact, he repeatedly called himself a "failure," even on what should have been the happiest day of his life. It was never enough.

It doesn't matter now but it's clear that Keith couldn't find success because he didn't even know what it looked like. He was looking for a "feeling," a "rush," or a sense of peace to tell him that "he made it." He was a DO'er. He took relentless action. He was willing to die every time he played hockey or football. But he never defined what his goals were or what success looked like, so arguably- he never found them.

It would be in poor taste to end this small story about Keith on a sour note. So I won't. He is and always will be one of the most influential people in my life. Without him, Good Looking Loser and so much else doesn't exist. Notorious BIG says, "You're Nobody (til Someone Kills You)." While that may be true for some, it wasn't for Keith. The legend is as real as the person himself.

In Loving Memory; Keith Christensen. 1981-2009. (RIParadise)

Define Success or Don't Chase It At All

Concept Summary from- Allison Waite ( Contributor)

Allie's breakdown is based on success principle #3 in "The Official Guide to Success" (Tom Hopkins, 1982)

"Before You Spend Several Years Hunting For Success, Spend a Few Minutes Defining It."

The "Unsuccessful" Olympic Gold Medalist

Similar to my story about my late friend, Keith Christensen, Tom Hopkins tells a near identical story of "Corinne Archer" who competed on an international level.

Corrine spent her childhood and teens in pursuit of an Olympic title. She began logging long hours of training at the young age of 6. Before she entered her teens, she had her eyes fixed on nothing but the Olympic gold medal. She eliminated everything which stood in the way of her goal. Every hour was mercilessly spent in training. As the years went by, honors and trophies piled up, yet all of them meant little to Corinne, other than paving the way to her ultimate goal.


Dominique MoceanuGrowing up I had a crush on Dominique Moceanu. It was okay though, I was only 11 years old.

True enough, at the age of 17, and having trained for six long years, Corinne won her much-coveted Olympic gold medal. The contest was stiff and the competitors were tough but she won. By anyone's definition of success, Corinne Archer was successful. What she had spent two thirds of her life pursuing- she has finally obtained. She even had a gold medal to prove it.

dominique moceanuThe fictitious "Corrine Archer" is not actually a metaphorical Dominique Moceanu.

Contrary to what the world may have thought, Corinne left the victory stand not in tears of joy, but of a gnawing sense of emptiness. For the first time in her life, Corinne was faced with an empty future void of any demands for another conquest. Her goal-oriented past was now faced with a purposeless future. From a life spent preparing for the future, she was suddenly thrown into a life of living in the past.

It took several painful months before Corinne began to come to terms with the shock of losing a goal by winning it. Only by learning to live in the present did she begin to regain her interest in life. It took her some time to discover that it is far healthier to embrace many goals than to be consumed with a single commitment.

Success, then, is not a trophy we seize, a record we set or a position we earn. It’s not the figures in our bank book, the address we live at or the pay rate we receive.

If success is none of these things, what is it then?


True success -- the kind which does not burst like a bubble the moment you get hold of it -- is part of a continuous journey rather than just an end point.

"We are often so fearful of whether or not we can achieve something that we forget to remember that if it is broken down into smaller, daily steps it becomes MUCH easier and most often attainable."

All your efforts should be bent on cultivating a successful life which, in turn, should be according to your definition. Only you know what a "successful life" really is. But if your set of values dictates that a successful life is one with happiness factored in, then it must be a life of varied interests and a whole range of emotions. It must be one which meets your many needs and attains your many aims.

As of 2013, Dominique is 31 years old. And I'm 30. So my crush on her was never creepy, at least on paper.As of 2013, Dominique is 31 years old. And I'm 30. So my crush on her was never creepy, at least on paper.

Therefore, choose specific goals. Map them out so far ahead of their deadlines so that you still have enough time to change and develop into a person who could reach them. Only by choosing specific goals and setting them early enough can you attract success. If not, success will pay you only an infrequent visit, if at all.

It must be stressed that lasting satisfaction can only come from pursuing worthwhile goals. The discovery and the pursuit of something which is truly worthwhile is the most challenging and fulfilling of task of that continuous journey we call life. If you care enough to be truly successful, you would accept the challenge. Consider this seriously and act on your conclusions.

The moment you realize that success can be enjoyed every day, you can start thinking about your next conquest after you’ve reached the next goal. Just before reaching your next aim, take some time to plan (at least think about) your next goals. List down your thoughts as they come so you won’t lose them. And in your free moments, analyze them more deeply.

If you reach your current goal and but have not defined success, you may experience “trauma of achievement.” Sounds funny, but if you find this odd, just look at famous celebrities – as soon as they reach the apex of fame and fortune, many succumb to the trauma of success, lose their purpose and sometimes lose themselves to drugs or alcohol. Achieving great success after long pursuit is often likened to catching a virulent disease.

A high-quality problem, but still a problem.

Only by framing a new solid goal to take the place of the former one affords a sure cure to the trauma of success. Never leave your old goal without making a new one.


"A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish."

We'll certainly discuss making and fulfilling goals in the near future; for a makeshift article of how I encourage you to structure and approach your goals please see- "A Simple Blueprint for Making and Achieve Your Goals."

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  • Rudegirl

    yeah am personally sorry for losing your friend and may he rest in paradise as you wished have watched most of your articles and I have applied most of the things you say which seem to work. Regarding this success principle I think I have learnt what I needed to learn since most of it is well explained. Keep up the good job.

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  • Edinson118

    I conquer with The matrix’s opinion and in addition in my own opinion to succeed one must make arrangements prior and define every essential bit in the undertaking. Also breaking down the work into smaller chunks that can be handled one at a time could prove really effective since one is able to fully understand every bit.

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  • Adamlambert

    I now know un-satisfaction in ones achievements could bring “trauma of achievement” that could be linked to most people who don’t get satisfaction of their achievements to using drugs. I thik as much as success is important it is also important to plan if a particular undertaking will generate the needed level of satisfaction to avoid complicated issues in the future.

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  • The matrix

    I guess what we really chase in success is satisfaction in whatever we are looking to find which if not brought by the endeavors we are pursuing we forced to do other things until whatever we want is fully satisfied. Continued unsatisfaction may lead up to giving up in trying again or even self-denial which could be very dangerous or really hard situation to get out of. Lesson learnt today. May your friend rest in peace Chris and kudos for the good job.

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  • Mrprice50

    when you are out there chasing success it is better that you see the goal clearly (crystal clear) live your fears behind after which you may concentrate all of your energy in chasing the goal/dream. sorry Chris of good looking failure for losing your friend and ex-roomate RIP.

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  • MorganS

    sorry for what happened to your ex-roommate. I think the guilt that arises with undefined success regardless of the medals and the silverware one has won is tantamount to the guilt that arises from unachieved goals and thus both should be avoided at all costs for we know the extent of self-destruction that guilt can bring regardless of the cause. It is also sad to some of us that we have to learn in a hard way that success has to be defined lest it becomes a wish. Thanks Chris for the good work.

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  • Rudi

    This is a man which has something to say and you are doing it very well in my opinion! Keep doing what you are doing,because is working :)

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  • [&] sure you Define Success but even if you fail, youll never wonder What if& or if [&]

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  • [&] Unclear goals (Define Success) [&]

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  • Spencer

    Chris, that was a beautiful story. Beautifully written - it perfectly conveyed your thoughts/emotions and such. He sounded like a great guy. I'm glad you're teaching others, you are an amazing individual. I can't express how much I appreciate being able to say I can learn from what you have to teach. With this site, and you, I know I will become a much stronger man in all aspects of my life.

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  • Thanks dude, that's quite nice - I appreciate it very very much

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  • Nytol

    That is a great article, I can relate, I’ve achieved a lot, yet never felt any joy or happiness for doing so.

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  • Time to celebrate then Nytol :D

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  • [...] If you dont have goals, youll have no idea where you are going and you wont even know it when you get there. Goal setting is critical for successful weight loss. Set yourself several small, progressive, quantitative goals (ie. I WILL LOSEE 5kg/lbs in 5 weeks) which when combined, lead to one big long term goal (ie. 30kg in 30 weeks). Write them down and put them up on the wall. Review them every day and particularly when you’re not feeling motivated. Remember- a GOAL WITHOUT A PLAN is a WISH. Make sure you know what you are going to do, define success before you chase it. [...]

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