Wealth

Mark Cuban: ‘Success isn’t necessarily how much money you have’—here’s how he defines it

Mark Cuban says his net worth isn’t what makes him successful — it’s his ability to to stay focused on doing fulfilling work every day.

“Success isn’t necessarily how much money you have,” Cuban, 65, recently told LinkedIn’s “The Path” podcast. “Success is just setting a goal and being able to wake up every morning feeling really good about what you’ve accomplished.”

Cuban, a serial entrepreneur and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” has a net worth of $5.1 billion, according to Forbes. His first taste of wealth came at age 32, when he sold his first business — a software company called MicroSolutions — to CompuServe for $6 million. He became a billionaire eight years later when his ensuing company, Broadcast.com, sold to Yahoo for $5.7 billion.

It might be easier to downplay the importance of money when you have a lot of it, but Cuban has repeatedly doubled down on the idea that he’d be just as happy without his financial assets. He’d “for sure” be happy with 1% of his net worth if he had his “same family and everything,” he told CBS’s “Sunday Morning” in January.

That’s perhaps good news for aspiring entrepreneurs, many of whom see the dream of getting rich as increasingly out of reach amid high levels of inflation and nationwide consumer debt.

American small-business owners have even developed a new definition of the “American Dream,” centered more around happiness and passion than standard markers of wealth like home ownership, according to a recent GoDaddy survey.

For Cuban’s part, he seems to be putting his money where his mouth is. His latest startup, online pharmacy Cost Plus Drugs, is intentionally built around social impact instead of squeezing customers for every penny, he told Wharton psychologist Adam Grant’s “Re:Thinking” podcast last year.

“If I’m 25 and I’m doing this again, I’m probably [thinking], ‘OK, what can I do to get acquired?'” Cuban said. “But now … the marginal value of my next dollar is [minimal]. It’s not going to change my life a lot. So my decision-making process is completely different.”

Cuban’s excitement about doing good for the world has motivated him to “go all in,” he said on the LinkedIn podcast, adding: “If you can wake up every morning smiling and excited about the day, you’re a success.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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