True Success is made of a distinctive fabric that will stretch or contract to your proper contours. It's essentially measured and made for you and by you. That's part of what makes the success of other people something you can often admire, but that you should never seek to copy in every respect. Your proper success will be contoured just for you.
The most universal advice on attaining your best will always honor this truth if it's based in real wisdom, and not grandiose hype. Let's face it. We live in a culture that celebrates grandiosity. But we can say of many grandiose people something very similar to what Kierkegaard once said of Hegel: They create majestic and ornate mansions that no one could live in happily. Too many of us are driven by an assumption that bigger is always better, and in every domain of life.
I've been writing about Steve Jobs recently, composing a new book on the deep philosophy behind his outsized success. And the more you learn about Jobs, the more you feel that, while you are indeed in the presence of a variety of greatness, you're also in the presence of extreme and driven obsession. And you don't have to be obsessed to be successful. You don't even have to be totally unbalanced and one dimensional to be extraordinarily successful. But the highest peaks of world changing accomplishment are usually reached only by those who are indeed obsessed, nearly possessed unbalanced, and driven by things in their lives that will not give them either rest or peace. We often benefit from the great work of such people. But the rest of us don't have to aspire to be like them in order to reach our own proper forms of tremendous success that are contoured just right for us.
It's a nice reminder. When you seek to put on a garment of success that's cut wrong for you, it never fits well or feels good. Only your proper success, in whatever size and style is right for your talents, personality, commitments, and nature, will fulfill you deeply and feel great.
In case you want to ponder more on this topic, consult my books True Success, or The Art of Achievement. Then, to get the practical equivalent of a PhD on the topic, with massive insights from the great thinkers, east and west, go look at the new ebook, The 7 Cs of Success. And let me know what you think!