How do you define success? Here's a top musician's reply.

Bob Dylan was the first musician to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. Here's how he really defines success.

Julie Fung

Julie Fung

Bob Dylan mural

Redefining Success

Influential. Complex. Singer. Songwriter. Musician. Author. Painter.

Bob Dylan is a true legend. With a rich social and political catalog spanning more than five decades, Dylan is the “voice of a generation.” One of the best-selling artists of all time—over 100 million records sold—Dylan has also claimed Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy awards, as well as the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dylan's highest honor came in 2016 when he was the first musician to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. His lyrics have long painted entire worlds for fans. This honor recognized his contribution to the written word, as he's long been recognized for his deft lyricism. 

Even with all those accolades, Dylan remains humble when contemplating his accomplishments—he once said awards get in the way of his creativity. When asked about money and success, though, here was Dylan’s reply. 

What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning, goes to bed at night, in between does what he wants.

Celebrate the Small Things

Success does not always come down to wealth—in fact, it rarely does. Success offers constant opportunities for growth and improvement. You can find success in whatever you do.

More importantly, you define what success is

Success occurs even in the mundane activities of daily life. Did you wake up early and get a workout in? Have you challenged yourself to try a new drink or meal? Did you clean your workspace today?

No matter how small, count it as a success.

As research shows, self-compassion is linked to better health behaviors. Reward yourself for what you’ve accomplished. Jot down your victories throughout the day and note how you adapt emotionally to this practice. 

Implementing simple practices like gratitude and mindfulness can be beneficial for your mental health. They also provide a framework for acknowledging your successes throughout the day.

As today draws down reserve a few moments to take stock of your accomplishments. Seemingly minor mindset shifts have a profound impact.