What success and porn have in common

Image: Matthieu Da Cruz

In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain “hard-core” pornography, or, at that time (probably not so much in today’s standards), what is obscene, by saying, “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced… but I know it when I see it …

I can identify with the irony and difficulty the Supreme Court Justice was wrestling with when trying to identify the concept of success.

I’m really not a big fan of the word ‘success’. I mean, what does it mean, in and of itself? It’s not useful. You can’t point at something and say, “This is a success.” Because what is success for me might not be for you.

There is no definition for success — you just know it when it’s there. You know it when you see it.

Is success an identifiable thing? Not really. But can we achieve it? Absolutely.

We can’t define success, but much like porn, we know it when we see it.

We know it when we attain it. Then, as usual, we’ll likely just string the carrot out even further from our noses and chase it again. And the cosmic game of fetch with success will go on, ad infinitum.

Just never forget it’s all just foreplay.


Jonas Ellison is a transformative coach and writer who helps people slay their egos and realize their full creative potential. To get his short vignettes in your inbox daily, click here.

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