A Definition of Success

Before the foundation of the earth, I believe that my Creator had a blueprint for my life. And when I discover what that is and I live it. That’s success.

When I first heard this quote, it completely blew my mind. I’ve heard a number of definitions of success—generic ones, definitions from very successful, well-regarded people from the secular sector, and God-first sounding ones from the spiritual section. It’s probably because of where I’m at in life 1 why this particular quote hit me. Unfortunately, I do not have a definitive answer who said this. I’m sure there have been many variations of it, but this exact copy of this quote has an inexact origin.

I heard this this past Sunday at church. Our guest speaker was Gideon Sang of Vox Veniae in Austin, Texas. Gideon attributed this quote to Daniel Smith of Danielson Famile. Gideon heard it in the Danielson Famile’s documentary called Danielson: A Family Movie (or, Make a Joyful Noise Here). Knowing Gideon’s source, I was originally going to attribute that quote to Daniel Smith. But after the service on Sunday, I wanted to know the quote word for word. I searched all over the web looking up terms from whatever I remembered from the quote: “foundation”, “success”, “Daniel Smith”, “blueprint”. I couldn’t find anything close to it. Finally, I had to find the movie myself.

I did manage to procure said movie. The movie, Danielson: A Family Movie (or, Make a Joyful Noise Here), is a great documentary. It’s a story of Daniel Smith starting a band, brought his family in as members, and performed in clubs and bars in front of (mostly) a secular audience. His lyrics are faith-based and the music has a an “indie”2 feel to it. Anyway, whether or not you’re Christian, it’s a definite watch.

So I watched the movie from beginning to end, and there is nowhere in that film where Daniel Smith said that particular quote. Gideon mentioned Daniel said this quote in a press interview near the end. Daniel did say this about success:

Success to me, first and foremost, is staying to true to who you’re made to be. Who you’re created to be. I believe from the beginning of time—before time—there’s a plan that’s been written for each and one of us. And when you’re born those things that are in you. Our life’s journey is to find out what those things are… And to discover those tools within us… And to exercise those skills… And refine them… To me, that’s success.

— Daniel Smith of Danielson Famile

Gideon Sang wasn’t too far off. His version is more direct and a bit more eloquent compared to Daniel Smith’s, but both men drove the point home.  We were given a purpose. We are driven to find it. (I also have a good idea what the general theme is to everyone’s purpose in life, but I’ll save that for another post.)


  1. Which is sort of like where I was about two years ago, but slightly better []
  2. Yup, I’m bad with genres, and it definitely does not sound like pop music. []