Success, like happiness, is an individual pursuit. What does success mean? For years, we have been taught that success is all about making a lot of money. But now things are changing, some think of success as money but many are moving away from that definition. What definition does a dictionary give?
- the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
- the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
- a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors: The play was an instant success.
- a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.: She was a great success on the talk show.
As you can see the definitions aren’t just about money.
What we are taught
We were taught that success equals money and this is what we have inadvertently taught our children and in turn, they too will pass on the same to their children. You might never have heard your parents speak about success but isn’t it true that they often encouraged you to become a Lawyer, Doctor or enter into a similar profession, long before you were old enough to know what you are good at?
Why do you think this is the case? The prominence associated with these jobs may only be part of the reasons we subtly push our children in that direction. But for the most part, it is the money that they find attractive. Even if they or their children are accomplished within their respective areas of expertise but are struggling financially, they find it hard to regard this as a success.
The result of that teaching
The result of this kind of thinking is a society of people who are unhappy, depressed or underachieving because they are stuck in a career they hate or miserable because they can never live up to the unrealistic expectations set for them. Just think about all the wealthy celebrities you know that have committed suicide or are fighting hard to recover from an addiction of some sort, drugs, alcohol, painkillers etc.
While being stable or even well off financially is often the result of much diligence and hard work, it is not the only true measure of success. There is no real satisfaction from being rich if you do not truly enjoy what you do. If you overwork, are stressed and often ill due to a job that brings in a lot of money, that is not a good life.
If you are struggling to make ends meet however, it is only natural to want a better life for yourself and your children.
But when your happiness and even the affection you have for your children is hinged solely on wealth or material possessions, that is not a good place to be in.
What really makes a person successful?
Here is what some of the greatest minds of this century have to say on the matter.
- “Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”– Zig Ziglar
- “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” – Stephen Hawking
- “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill
As you can see, each one has their own opinions about the boundaries within which we define success. That is because success means totally different things to different people. In fact, even those with great wealth may not see themselves as successful. There is, however, one common theme in these sayings. Success is no accident, it is achieved as a result of working hard at whatever you do.
So how do you achieve success?
It is impossible to become successful by just doing enough to get by. Anyone can be average. If your aim is to be successful, you must have such a burning desire to be first, to do more or even to do better, that it pains you stop working towards these goals. Your aspirations should greet you every morning and have you leaping out of bed to get started on your day.
And no matter what obstacle or obstacles appear, you will always keep telling yourself that you can’t and won’t stop. That giving up is not an option.
You will believe, no matter what, in what you are doing and know without doubt (well maybe a tiny occasional one) that you are going to be successful. You will know that your work/job/business/career will be successful but that success will be defined by YOU. This is the right mindset to have for success.
That kind of burning desire is also known as motivation. It is the force that compels us to strive for success, helps us to unlock the full potential of our minds, keeps us continually focused on and committed to attaining our goals. Motivation is thus the universal key to success. It is impossible to have this kind of drive if you do not truly love what you do and if you are not confident enough to think you are able to do it well.
That is why it is so crucial for you to define success on your own terms. This is what I call your WHY! You have to know what your goals are and more importantly the reason you are doing it. When you get tired, when things don’t go well, when you are ready to give it all up, that is when your WHY will keep you going. It will take you that several steps further and past those feelings until you are once more riding the wave of self belief towards success.
Reach for your Dreams
No one else will make your dreams happen, they all have their own or are too busy wallowing in self pity at their miserable lives that are going nowhere. There are many that want a better life, that talk about success and how to achieve it but not so many that are prepared to make changes in their lives to achieve it.
If you want to reach for the stars, you and only YOU, can make it happen. If you have negative friends that try to dissuade you, then perhaps you need new friends.
Which achievement do you think is worth pursuing? Which accomplishment do you yearn to share with your children and grandchildren? That is the aspiration that will make you a success and you should never stop trying to make these dreams a reality. Realism is a very important aspect of being motivated to succeed.
Take those first steps. No one ever regretted the things they tried or did. Only the things they didn’t do or attempt.
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10 thoughts on “What does Success mean”
Definition of success according to the dictionaries is one thing, what we make success to be for ourselves is another thing entirely I really value all you have shared here and it makes a lot of sense seeing them set out here. To be very honest, I am quite appreciative of all you put here and it makes total and absolute sense to see. Thank you so much for sharing here
Thank you for reading and commenting Nath. So gad it heped you.
As you say, a dictionary definition and how we define success is different for everyone.
Success can mean so many things and to different people we all have various definition of success and for me I have narrowed success to achieving any plan that I have or making significant progress in anything that I do. In line with the business I am in, I see success as when make progress from a previous stop.
I agree Justin, everyone’s definition of success is different. When you have achieve any forward steps it is a success to be celebrated.
All those little steps build the foundation for eventual success.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
I really did enjoy reading your post on success and how one can attain success. It’s a very good post and really the different definitions you gave it success is all very true especially how the successful people see it. I think though that for anyone to attain a kind of success that is comforting, then there has to be struggles. Like the popular saying goes. No pain, no gain.
I am pleased you found the post enjoyable and useful Suz.
Yes, we struggle through the early stages as we gain knowledge and put it into action. Gradually though it comes together to create a solid foundation for lasting success.
Thank you for reading and commenting.
I grew up in a household where we were encouraged and also expected to go to university, get a good qualification, so we could enter the job market to get a good job, and earn good money. There was not really much said about being happy in what you do. The focus these days are different and it is refreshing to know that success does not necessarily mean lots of money.
What motivates you will indeed play a big part in whether you chase your dreams. Being successful is not always about money, but being happy in what you have accomplished, also makes you a success.
Many were taught the same thing Line, that a good job earning good money meant success.
Now thankfully we understand that enjoying what we do is just as important as the amount of money we earn. Motivation is very important, so is happiness, I agree and makes a massive difference to the outcome.
Thank you for your insightful comments.
We all seem to get it. We all seem to find it. The word Success seems like it is an impossible word for individuals to pursue after, prepare for, choose, desire. It’s how we often pose our lives to be. Money, fame, and power is what we have been told that consist of success. If we don’t get it, we’re consumed with jealousy of those who do. I love the way you describe what success is and how to we as an individual can achieve it. You really do have a wonderful article
Yes, that is true Danie, we chase after it, often without understanding what it is we really want or what it means to us personally.
Success can be something as basic as being able to put food on the table and pay our bills easily for those that have struggled to do so.
Many see it has amassing a lot of money without understanding that money alone won’t make us happy.
Thank you for reading and commenting.