This Blog is 6 Months Old. Am I a Success?

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 11/16/09 •  5 min read

For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, yesterday I had a guest post entitled “Budgeting for a Lifestyle Change” go up at Get Rich Slowly.

As one of the most popular and respected personal finance blogs on the internet, I am honored to have had the chance to write for JD, and am overwhelmed with the response I have received.

So if you have come over from GRS, thank you, and welcome!

Is Location Rebel a Success Story?

In that post, there were a lot of positive comments, and unsurprisingly, there were some criticisms as well. The most interesting of which seemed to revolve around whether or not my story constituted a “success” or not.  There were some people who felt as though:

“…you’re just a kid who was likely pampered his whole life growing up, and finally when it was time to be an adult, you had a hard time facing the music that in the real world, nobody cares how much fun you have at your job. You either do it well, or you get fired.”

Man, I think that is the first negative comment I have had since I started blogging. Well its about time! I must not have been doing something right.

The first thing that I want to make very clear, is that I don’t view myself as a success.  I am finding myself in a position to be successful (based on my definition of the term), as I will now be getting to travel, which at this point is my number one priority.

But view myself as successful?  Hardly.

I mean look at the facts.

Now sure there are details that go along all with each of those points that illustrate things aren’t actually that bad, but when it all boils down, those are the facts.

However, being successful and being in a position to be successful are two very different things.

Now that I don’t have the constraints that go along with my previous job, I can pursue my goal of traveling.  While I am at it, I can work on building a business and finding a way to support myself over a longer period of time.

Between the skill set I’ve already acquired, and the amount of support I’ve received from this community, I’m continually amazed by the opportunities that have been presenting themselves over the past few months.

So in a lot of regards, I feel as though I have seen some success.  Had I stayed in the exact same position I was in a year ago (or even a month ago), I think I would be much worse off than I am now.

What Constitutes Blog Success?

My definition of success is finding happiness in all aspects of your life, while also being able to support yourself in the process.  This is a key point to some of the criticisms about my GRS post. If you can’t support yourself, then eventually you are going to fail.  Its true.  Short of winning the lottery, you can’t live out a permanent vacation.

Now with that being said, let’s revisit the comment from earlier where it was said that “nobody cares how much fun you have at your job.”  I disagree with that completely.  Because I care about how much fun I have at my job.  What is the point of doing something if you don’t inherently enjoy it.  Obviously, not everything you do is going to be fun, but it sounds to me like the person that wrote that needs to find a new profession.

I don’t think the words work and miserable are synonymous.  If you don’t enjoy what you do, do something else.  That’s pretty much where I am at.  I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, and now I am finding something else.  Simple as that.

I would even go as far to say that if you aren’t enjoying yourself at work, then you haven’t been successful.  When did monetary success become more important than personal well-being?

By my metric, it sounds as though this particular commentator has also failed to be successful.  Maybe he pulls down a quarter million a year, but if he has that kind of attitude towards work, he probably isn’t enjoying his life to the extent that he should be.

Let me pose a question.

Would you rather make $100,000/year doing something you hated, or $25,000/year doing something you loved.

There is no right or wrong answer, but I grew up thinking that money was of principle importance, and you weren’t supposed to enjoy your job.  Now I am finding the opposite to be true.  Sure I like to have nice things, but if 50 hours out of every week is spent doing something I wasn’t happy doing , then what’s the point?

Success is going to be different for everyone.  I mean it is different for me now than it was growing up.  The bottom line is, don’t let someone tell you that you aren’t successful if you personally feel like you are.  If you are happy with your accomplishments, then that is all that really matters.

Speaking of accomplishments, stayed tuned for a BIG update later this week.  Some long awaited changes are finally being made, and I am REALLY excited to fill you guys in!

Although I will give you a little hint:



Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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26 comments on "This Blog is 6 Months Old. Am I a Success?"

  1. Jen says:

    I think success is personal to each person and like you are doing, it is important to find your own definition, that make’s you happy.
    Keep doing what you are doing Sean! 🙂 It is inspiring and I for one, think enjoying your job is important – sure sometimes it might not be fun, but if that’s happening consistently – you gotta think life’s too short to be miserable! 🙂 Look forward to hearing more about Thailand.

  2. Mary says:

    Success is and should be a personal measure, not a cultural one. You should decide whether or not you feel successful or feel like you are in a position to become successful. It’s up to you Sean and you seem to have a good handle on those ideas.

  3. Sean, you really hit my pressure point here:

    “I would even go as far to say that if you aren’t enjoying yourself at work, then you haven’t been successful. When did monetary success become more important than personal well-being?”

    I agree 100%. Work for most people is at least 40 hours a week. Why do something that isn’t enjoyable? Not many people can afford to just leave work, but they surely should look for something else. Or at least find themselves successful outside of work!

    Nice work

  4. Tyler says:

    I enjoyed your post at GRS, Sean. Criticism is to be expected and even healthy if you can use it to strengthen your own ideals.

    All in all, I feel like the criticism you got on that post were from people that extrapolated your message too far. It seemed like a pretty straightforward post about budgeting for a lifestyle change and it got misconstrued into a success story that it wasn’t really meant to be.

    Like you said, setting yourself up for success and being successful are two different things.

  5. Colin Wright says:

    Congrats for the excellent guest post, Sean!

    There will never be a shortage of people around to tell you how unsuccessful you are. You could be Bill Gates or the Pope or Miley Cyrus or the guy who cures cancer and no matter what, someone will have different goals, different approaches to reaching their goals, and maybe even an aversion to goals completely (seriously, I’ve met some of these people) and will be determined to tear you down.

    I think you’re approaching this the right way. State your opinion, as requested, say what you’re doing, and listen to what others have to say, filtering out the chafe and making use of the gold that will pop up from time to time.

  6. charlotte says:

    Dude, my husband sent me over here from GRS. I was fired on Wednesday (5 minutes after I quit, but that’s a whole ‘nother UGLY story) from a job I’ve hated after the first three months since I started it six years ago–in an industry I hate, too. Vindictive manager knows people at the company at which I have a new job lined up, so that’s going to blow up in my face, too. Nice.

    Yeah, nice. Because it doesn’t matter how old you are (I’m no longer 24; heck, I’m no longer 30) or how long you’ve been in a certain job or industry, as long as you can figure out how to develop the skills that’ll allow you to get where you want to go in your life, job-related or not. I could have sat back in those six years on that job, not used the company’s tuition assistance program, and let a free M.S. degree slip by. I could have said “no” to assignments in New Mexico or the Bay Area in order to stay local (instead, I lived frugally and saved the per diem for a rainy day). I could have spent fifty hours a week of overtime in the office for a sweaty handshake, or worked my 40 efficiently and become a new mom.

    As of last week, I’ve been able to breathe again. I’ve slept. I’ve been able to play with my little daughter all day, rather than dropping her off at daycare in the morning. I’ve been able to clean the house with more than a quick wipedown and am now figuring out how to 1. budget so the rainy-day fund lasts me a bit more, 2. qualify for unemployment (yep, don’t give up!), 3. be able to tell whether the new job is going to turn into the same multiyear nightmare and just opt out to pursue what I really want to do. And no, it has nothing to do with setting a foot in an office on a daily basis.

    So, I agree with you on the definition of success–it’s always relative to the goals you set for yourself. And yours isn’t necessarily someone else’s definition, hence the naysayers to your GRS post (who’re probably lifers stuck in some boring government-like job).

    Right on, dude!

  7. Elisa says:

    Sometimes I think the easiest way for people to view their own inability to take the leaps they want is to negate someone else’s path. I know that for me, as I work to embark on a more location independent and start-up path, I look at some people’s stories and say “Well yeah, if I had no obligations then I’d be able to just up and go where ever/do whatever I wanted to. They have no idea…”

    But the truth is that *I* have no idea. I could have done it when I was their age (Jesus I’m making myself sound old…) but I chose the path of safe and stable 9-5. It’s absolutely the old analogy of choosing a path in the woods. You can always backtrack to get to the other path. You can bushwhack your way through the overgrowth to get to the other path. There is always a way, it just isn’t always easy.

  8. WellHeeled says:

    Saw you through Get Rich Slowly – great post. I was laid off at the end of August from a job that paid decently but wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. So the layoff brought mixed emotions. Fortunately, I’ve managed to save a good emergency fund and now have UI and freelance to get me through. I’m trying to figure out how to make best use of my time without worrying about burning through all of my financial resources.

    What do you have planned coming up? More trips?

  9. Robert says:

    Kudos on GRS that’s huge. Glad something shook you up and pushed you to grow…and thanks for responding to it as you have with this blog…with authenticity. The life events hitting you right now are not something many people go through with the thought process to articulate. I’ve been there…make the most of it! Keep sharing…and let us know when you hit on the income generating part of lifestyle design! Weird how so many great minds were so poor…so very few well off.

  10. Earl says:

    Happiness is simply harder to measure than a salary and we live in a world of competition. How can people make themselves feel better if they don’t have anything concrete to compare against their colleagues and friends? It’s clearly not how things should work, so if you’re happy and feel successful (however you may determine it) you’ve clearly removed yourself from the absurd need to justify one’s life by putting down the decisions of others.

    Enjoy Thailand!

  11. Dan says:

    I was gonna leave a comment but it turned into a whole damn post. Good stuff Sean.

  12. Brandy says:

    Great post, Sean! And yeah, some people just love to assume things. Whoever wrote that comment obviously doesn’t realize that you’ve made a lot of sacrifices in order to do what you’re doing, and it’s not because you’ve got a trust fund. Why should anyone else care what you do with your money? That’s what it boils down to – instead of blowing your hard-earned salary on a flatscreen TV, a new car, expensive clothing, etc., you’ve chosen to save it in order to be able to travel.

    I look forward to reading about your adventures in Thailand.

  13. Alan says:

    Great guest post and subsequent discussion. Have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments here and at GRS. Well done, Sean!

  14. Hi Sean,

    That comment was harsh and excessive. It is not really worth thinking about.

    I agree that it is important to find something enjoyable, challenging and rewarding to do with our lives. That is what most people probably refer to as passion. However, I think it is important to remember that even the most interesting thing in the world is going to get boring if you are doing it 30 or 40 hours a week.

    Life is not always going to be fun. There is a lot of boring work involved in following any passion. Success comes to those willing to do that work.

  15. Well done on addressing the peanut gallery. Use criticism to strengthen your resolve. It’s what helps push me forward everyday! You may enjoy reading “You’re Rejected! How I Use Rejection To Motivate Me Every Single Day”

    Looking forward to hearing your big trip update!

  16. Sean, awesome post! I loved this! To me, success is not about money…it is about creating a life of freedom with little anxiety and/or stress to match it. Secondly, I want to have a life of creativity. If I can do all those things, I am a success and feel successful.


  17. “Short of winning the lottery, you can’t live out a permanent vacation.”

    A permanent vacation gets very boring very fast.

    For a life of full of activities you enjoy, with people you care about, you don’t need to win a lottery.

    The fact remains that everyone does whatever they do with one intent and one intent only, to achieve happiness, to BE happy. If you are happy, you are successful, if you’re not, then, well, you’re NOT successful.

    Congrats on your success, Sean. Have fun in Thailand while you hook up with a lot of cool people.


    1. Sean says:

      @Rasheed Thanks for the comment! How have things been going in your world? Still working on Everest in the next few years?

      @Dayne Couldn’t agree more. It is always interesting to see how other people view success, because there can be some pretty dramatic differences. I like the part about little anxiety or stress, I think that is key to my personal happiness!

      @Diggy I think no matter what your situation, you can get out of it, you just have to have the motivation and positive attitude that is going to get you there! BTW I am looking forward to reading all about your trip with Glen! If I don’t talk to you before, have a GREAT time!

      Sidenote, I think I may have just deleted someones comment by mistake…so if that was yours, then I am sorry!

      @John Yeah there were a few harsh comments, but frankly, I don’t let it bother me. If thats what someone needs to do to feel better about themselves, then I am glad I was able to help them out. But what you said about “success comes to those willing to work” is totally true. Nothing in life is free, and nothing about this lifestyle is easy, but if you want it bad enough, you will get there.

      @Alan Thanks! I have been enjoying all of the comments as well!

      @Dan Glad I could provide some inspiration! It really is an important topic though…

      @Earl “Happiness is simply harder to measure than a salary” That is one of the most true statements I have heard in awhile, and frankly most of our society doesn’t see the difference. I am kind of surprised that American’s in comparison to those in other parts of the world, do place such a tremendous importance on the amount of money you make, while discounting everything you have to sacrifice to get there…

      @Rob Thanks man, it was a pretty big deal for me! I have tried to make everything about this blog as authentic as I can. I am not going to try and be something I am not, and I am not going to pretend like I have all the answers. All I can do is keep living my life, and making the best of any situation. If I do that, hopefully the story is interesting enough to follow!

      @WellHeeled Thanks for coming over! I have a big trip planned in January, come back tomorrow for all of the details 🙂

  18. Walter says:

    Success is about getting through to the experience of failure, criticisms, sadness, despair and hopelessness. Keep and open mind. Success does not mean happiness nor wealth. It is about finding yourself. 🙂

  19. Dan says:


    I like your positive vibe. But, what about those who hate their job but feel trapped because the pay is so good it helps them pay off their bills. I would love to do what I love to do but it isn’t going to pay well enough to pay the bills. Sure, I need to downsize and simplify and am in the process of that, but it isn’t as easy as some people say or think. It may take some “unhappy” time to get happy if you know what I mean. Love the site and your perspective though!

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