What is Your Definition of Success?

And why are we all waiting around for it to come knocking?

Jason Weiland
5 min readJun 22, 2020


I have wanted to be a businessperson since I was a little child, playing office with my cousin in the flimsy plywood shed behind my house.

We had elaborate lives set up for ourselves at five years old. I was married with kids, a home, and a car, and I continuously worked without stress. Our lives were our businesses, and we were successful. At least in our made-up fantasy world.

“If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter. ”― Markus Zusak

Owning a business was the pinnacle of success for a born and bred Jehovah’s Witness child, who would never get a college degree or even see the inside of a college unless we were cleaning it. Lots of Witnesses had businesses: landscaping, cleaning, construction, auto repair, baking, and the like. Anything that could also be put to use to help other people of this specific faith was acceptable, just as long as you ran your business as you ran your life, by the standards of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

The only other option was to volunteer for Bethel, the publishing arm of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a multi-billion dollar headquarters for the religion that ran on mostly free labor and the trade skills of converts worldwide.

If I stayed in “the truth” for my entire life, I would have had to choose a path as a way to subsidize my career as a full-time door-to-door apostle.

I am not saying it would have been a horrible life because it is not, at all. My parents have been devout Witnesses their entire lifetime — and even with the health problems that getting old brings, they are happier than puppies in a bone shop — and sleep peacefully in the knowledge that their faith will give them everlasting life.

I idolize my parents, and it was hard for me to finally decide it was not the life for me, even if I had the hope to live forever.

I didn’t have faith in a god, and my hatred of authority didn’t mesh well with a group that spent their lives at the whims of old white men in a tall building…



Jason Weiland

Personal essays and articles from a guy who never tires of writing about his life - jasonweiland.substack.com