For I have a single definition of success: you look in the mirror every evening, and wonder if you disappoint the person you were at 18, right before the age when people start getting corrupted by life. Let him or her be the only judge; not your reputation, not your wealth, not your standing in the community, not the decorations on your lapel. If you do not feel ashamed, you are successful. All other definitions of success are modern constructions; fragile modern constructions.
The joy of having something comes from the length of time you have been wanting it, expecting it. Happiness really lies in the expectation. So once you achieve it, it loses its charm for you. Every happiness is imaginary: so long as you don’t possess it, it seems to be abounding happiness. But as soon as it is actualized, it ceases to be happiness; our hands are as empty as before. And then we seek some other object for our desire, and we begin to expect it again. We feel so unhappy without it and imagine that happiness will come with it.
In our culture we tend to equate thinking and intellectual powers with success and achievement. In many ways, however, it is an emotional quality that separates those who master a field from the many who simply work at a job. Our levels of desire, patience, persistence, and confidence end up playing a much larger role in success than sheer reasoning powers. Feeling motivated and energized, we can overcome almost anything. Feeling bored and restless, our minds shut off and we become increasingly passive.