In a recent magazine interview, a reporter asked me whom I thought of when I heard the word “successful.” My answer wasn’t Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Kim Kardashian. Nor do I think of the old American Dream as the definition of success.
When I think of success, I think of my friend Jamar. Although he is an outstanding father, husband, high school teacher, and real estate investor, those things alone don’t make him successful. What makes Jamar successful is that he is living the New American Dream: he is happy, healthy, and debt-free; he has full control of his life; and he doesn’t derive his self-worth from external factors—all of which makes him the most successful person I know.
A decade ago, it was Jamar who taught me “You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.” I listened, and I’m a better person today because I surround myself with people who are more knowledgeable and more skilled than myself. That’s how we grow as individuals—and the more we grow, the more we have to give.
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