Definition of Success

successHave you ever noticed that success isn’t singularly based on factors like environment, upbringing, education, or being from a certain neighborhood? Even those from the most humble beginnings can rise above their circumstances.  History has proven this over and over.

Though some successful people might say their accomplishments are because they were lucky, that’s not all there is to it.  In fact, some of us would even say that there’s no such thing as luck at all. Okay, that would be me… I’m raising my hand here because I don’t believe in luck. Destiny, yes, intuition, yes… but not luck.

Anyway, whether you believe in luck or not, we can probably agree that various factors do come into play with reaching success… factors such as focused effort, perseverance, taking risks, and, yes, showing up in the right place at the right time.

And one more thing is certain. People who push their boundaries share this in common:  they all have a clear definition for what success personally means to them.

I’m sure you’ve seen, like I have, many definitions of success, as well as loads of advice by great thinkers and masters throughout the ages about how to be successful in life.

Such as:

  • Stephen Covey gave us 7 habits for being effective and, therefore, successful (Th7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
  • Napoleon Hill observed the phenomenally successful people of his era, and in his 1937 book, Think and Grow Rich, shared the 15 particular things he noticed they had in common.
  • Jack Canfield suggests 64 principles to follow that will lead you to success in The Success Principles.
  • And Miguel Ruiz says that if you follow the 4 wise agreements his ancestors taught him (The Four Agreements), your life will change for the better, and he’s right. It will. I know because mine has.  🙂

In fact, I think all of these, as well as many others I haven’t mentioned here, are right. They all give great advice on how to think and act in order to attain the success.

But first, before following their advice, and I’ve learned this myself over the years, it’s most beneficial to take a little time to define and imagine what success is to YOU.

Does it mean that you’re earning a certain level of income? Does it mean that you’ve risen to a certain level in your professional field? Does it mean that you’re able to own certain stuff and live in a certain kind of house in a certain kind of neighborhood?

Those are some tangible measurements of success. You might also pick some less tangible ways to define success.  Maybe for you it’s receiving 100% satisfaction ratings from your customers. Maybe it’s running a team at work with high morale, high loyalty, and low-turnover. Maybe it’s staying in a long-term relationship with the same partner and really making it work.

What is the definition of success?

Well, my point is that it’s up to you what the definition is.

The late, great Stephen Covey said it well when asked about it once in an interview with the New York Times, “If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience, you will find your definition of success.”

Now that’s some great food for thought!


Angela Loeb is into self-development… learning it, teaching it, and supporting others who do too.
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