What Does It Mean to Make It?

Friday, June 06, 2014

What does it mean to you, right now, to be successful? What's your criteria at this very moment? Don't think about it too much. Just tell us the first thing you think of as we kick off this special two-hour family meeting on "Making it" and success.

Comments [36]


In the midst of numerous recent discussions about male privilege and the oppressive patriarchy, it is lovely to see the 1950s attitudes expressed by women about males as the source of income. It was perfect when the dentist got stuck for a moment when she realized how awful she sounded... As a single guy that might actually fulfill her stringent criteria, hearing these things absolutely makes me want to run for the hills. I know I'm not alone.

Jun. 09 2014 08:10 PM
Conan from Cimmeria

When I see my enemies crushed, driven before me, hear the lamentation of their women.

Jun. 06 2014 04:47 PM
Margaret from Morningside Heights

Personal: When I've got a partner, and situation, including either adopting kids, and/or contributing to practical, cultural, and environmental literacy. Work: When I've designed/manufactured/ crafted/initiated all the things and projects I've planned; including seconding the motion of the caller who mentioned saving the planet as the primary priority of the era we live in.

Jun. 06 2014 04:01 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from NYC

Hi, Success means to be recognized, to be read; for my work to mean something to others. And to be well paid. Eugenia Renskoff, author of Different Flags

Jun. 06 2014 02:43 PM

Throughout my life I've always considered it a success if I could work at what I loved to do as long as I could pay my bills. I had a meaningful career and loved going to work, but I find that this philosophy of life doesn't make for a comfortable retirement. I can still pay my bills, but as the years go by it will become much more difficult.

Jun. 06 2014 12:12 PM
Tony from UWS

Funny that you played the clip from A CHORUS LINE. It was my first job in NYC and it taught me that it was 1. Okay to be gay, 2. Okay to work in the theater. I became a successful Broadway designer.
Thanks, Brian.

Jun. 06 2014 11:58 AM
Anne from Worhtington, Ohio

I'm 93. I'll feel I made it when I have an organism for the first time! LOL!

Jun. 06 2014 11:52 AM
Anna from Manhattan

It's always been surprising/interesting to me that most people seem to have such specific goals or measures of success. Whether it was girls who had a specific idea of the man they wanted when we were young or people who have on idea of "making it." Maybe it's because I had a hard childhood, but my goals were just to have a nice lifestyle and have a happy family and I'm proud that I've created a stable happy life for my children. I happen to be very ambitious and I love my job, but I definitely did not set out to have this job or hadn't even dreamed of it. I think the wider your metric for success can be, the happier you will be in life.

Jun. 06 2014 11:42 AM
James from Saint Michel-de-Montaigne, France

Success is knowing how to belong to oneself no matter how old. Knowing oneself leads to self-acceptance, accurate expectations, and kindness towards oneself and others.

Jun. 06 2014 11:16 AM
JS from NYC

I'll know I've made it when I survive death.

Jun. 06 2014 11:01 AM

"Meet someone on one's level".. why not try a Sears & Roebuck catalog,ma'am...

Jun. 06 2014 10:54 AM
William Finke from Westchester

All this care about marrying the right one down the road gives everyone the chance to dally.

Jun. 06 2014 10:51 AM
Lin from NYC

I saw an Iran movie about 8 years ago---a real eye opener. It was about a
a family that was living a very difficult existence. Their living conditions weren't
squalid but they were obviously very poor. The father's work was very physical. The children played very rudimentary games--no computers, no soccer ball fields etc; however, the family was very happy and caring when they
were together. There was so much love. It's interesting how we define happiness and
success in our culture.

Jun. 06 2014 10:46 AM
V from NJ

I'll know I made it when NPR interviews me :0)

Jun. 06 2014 10:43 AM
Chris from NY

Income is less important than education and goals. I don't think an income differential (in response to the dentist who called in) makes as much of a difference if you have these things in common. At age 35, the risk of not being able to have a child is getting larger (which is one of the reasons she cited as wanting to have equal incomes).

Jun. 06 2014 10:40 AM

I raised an extraordinary son - a musical prodigy and an outstanding student, a really funny guy with a social acumen which had him keep friends from his early childhood overseas to high school, college and beyond.
However, after graduating with honors from an Ivy League college in computer engineering, with offers of jobs from all over the country, he decided that he could not and would not sit in front of a computer eight hours a day.
He produced a portfolio and proceeded to go to grad school for a degree in architecture. He now works for a high-end house contractor both as a designer and a carpenter. He seems to be happy, but it slays me to think that my son, who could make a difference in the world, has now, at almost 40, a regular, middle-class life (with no TV in his home and other assorted quirks).
Last year he started to play the double bass, and is now a member of a philharmonic orchestra in the city he lives in. And for me, it is so far from my dreams for him... And then I feel guilty for being sad about it.

Jun. 06 2014 10:33 AM
nina from Brooklyn

I'll know I made it when I dont hyperventilate paying rent every month.

Jun. 06 2014 10:31 AM

yeah... but women are also often kind of duplicitous, because women love to make fun of men that are attracted to, and court, so called "lesser intelligent" women. so, how many ways can one be damned?! "we must be insecure". god forbid, we could love a "lesser intellect"; or, if we are indeed insecure,well then condemn us for being vulnerable and human.. golly..

Jun. 06 2014 10:31 AM
Tony from UWS

Bring the draft back and 20 somethings will think about greater things.

Jun. 06 2014 10:24 AM
Tolonda from Brooklyn

It is not so much about how much your partner needs to make to marry them, but rather about what their work ethic is and how much debt they have. Because if they have a great work ethic they are going to do what is needed to support a family. Also debt is more problematic than how much $ someone is making.

Jun. 06 2014 10:24 AM
Sara from Yonkers

i'll know i've made it when i can do the small things i want to do without thinking about it. when i can just do it

Jun. 06 2014 10:22 AM
john from office

I will know I made it when I write and sing or "Mumble" a Rap "song" and Brian, looking to be Hip, uses it on his show.

Jun. 06 2014 10:21 AM

the concept is goofy... what and where is that final landing pad of "it",and why is it so materialistically defined for most people, in America? life is a process,not a destination. if you're looking for an "it to make",you're running DC appliances on AC current,and you're headed to futility junction as far as i'm concerned.

Jun. 06 2014 10:20 AM
Jill from Chelsea

When I can, after 25 years, go off my antidepressants and be happy to wake up every morning.

Jun. 06 2014 10:18 AM
antonio from baySide

I made it a long time ago, got out of Hell's Kitchen; got a BFA, etc.

"Making it" in a literal sense (because I live in NYC) right now will be when I get back to my pre-recession salary.

I am 42 and had to basically start from zero when I changed careers in the midst of the Depression; I was a Graphic Designer, now I am a full-time Web-Developer. I make 73K now, but want to get to about 95-120k; Good thing is I am on this trajectory to achieve that goal cause of all this learning I am doing (codeschool, teamtreehouse, onemonthrails etc.).

But on a human, cognitive level, I hope I never 'make it'. I am enjoying the questions, the learning etc.

Jun. 06 2014 10:16 AM
Martin Basher from Brooklyn

You'll never make it until you've made peace with the fact you never will!
Live in the moment and enjoy what you have. Its mostly wonderful.

Jun. 06 2014 10:14 AM
William Murray from Bed Stuy

I know I've made it when I can sign up for a auto renewable MTA card and never worry about paying for it.

Jun. 06 2014 10:14 AM
Greg from Astoria

When someone else makes a Wikipedia page about me

Jun. 06 2014 10:12 AM
Jim B from Queens

I was most surprised that there is not more of middle way between homelessness and 110% in the Rat Race.

Jun. 06 2014 10:10 AM
Mary from Montclair, NJ

As a parent, I had an unexpected feeling of true pride and accomplishment and success when I realized that all three of my kids were confident readers. If you're a reader, you can be a better learner, you can feed your curiosity, you can connect with others, you can create and challenge new ideas. And if a child is a big reader, they are likely to be able to write, speak, connect with others. My kids have gone on to other types of success -- academic, musical, civic, athletic -- but that's their success. I am so proud that I made readers.

I am not sure if that's the "I-made-it"-moment you're looking for, but it was a big one for me.

Jun. 06 2014 10:09 AM

Excellent sex after 20 years

Jun. 06 2014 10:08 AM

I'll know I made it when I win the lottery.

Jun. 06 2014 10:07 AM
tom from Astoria

My mother is 86. I KNOW SHE HAS MADE IT How? Her care for a handicapped daughter for 28 years of devotion, her caring later on for her aged parents to the day they died; along the way caring for elderly cousins and aunts and uncles, all now gone, her raising of four children despite ridicule from an unhappy husband Her antigue shop is still a dream, but SHE HAS MADE IT more than anyone I know. .I agree 100% with the President.

Jun. 06 2014 10:06 AM
Nick from UWS

I'll know I've made it when I stop thinking about myself.

Jun. 06 2014 10:04 AM

Jun. 06 2014 10:02 AM
Melanie from NYC

Many years ago, Dear Abby ran a 'definition of success' and it always stayed with me. Here it is:

(written by Bessie Anderson Stanley and published in 1904 in Brown Book Magazine)

``He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.``

Jun. 06 2014 09:51 AM

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