How do you define success?

17 January 2019, Author Joanne Reed Blog

Most people measure success in material goods or status.  A successful person would be, for example, a lawyer, a doctor, a businessman with a large house, a pool, 2 brand new cars, a holiday home by the beach and another one in the mountains. For me, this is a very shallow and narrow definition of success, there is a lot more to it.

When you talk about success you are also talking about prosperity.  When you look at the etymology of the word “prosperity” the Latin root “prosperitas” means to “go forward hopefully”, in other words it is an attitude towards life. Success therefore is not a destination, it is a journey.

Go forward hopefully

The person who really nailed this concept is Earl Nightingale, also known as the Father of Personal Development. I believe he put together the best and most accurate definition of success: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or idea”. It means that any person regularly engaged in achieving something which they consider worthy is successful. If an individual is working towards a pre-determined goal and they know where they are going, that person will be a success.

  • Success is a school teacher because he/she wants to be a teacher and feels a calling to be a teacher.
  • Success is a student who goes to school every day wanting to learn and develop themselves academically by achieving good grades, physically (by joining in sports team), emotionally and socially by interacting with their friends and teachers.
  • Success is a wife and mother who wants to be a wife and mother dedicating herself to be the best wife and mother she can be.
  • Success is the working mother who balances her professional career and raising her children.
  • Success is the stay-at-home father who dedicates himself to raising his family whilst allowing his wife to pursue her career, being a supportive partner for his spouse.
  • Success is the family member who cares for a sick child, parent, spouse dedicating their day to making that person’s day better.

To summarize: the moment you start working on your goals you are immediately a successful person.

What does it take to achieve success?

Success doesn’t happen by accident. Talent alone does not take you to the finish line. Successful people work at it every day. It requires dedication, commitment and perseverance.  But you can’t talk about success without talking about failure. The two are linked. There are a whole bunch of successful people who acknowledge that fact, people like:

Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Henry Ford: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again this time more intelligently.”

Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Albert Einstein: “If you’ve never made any mistake you have never tried anything new.”

Maya Angelou: “you may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so that you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Christine Aguilera: In her song “Fighter” thanks to all the struggles she encountered because “it made her that much stronger & wiser, it made her work a little harder, and it made her skin a little bit thicker.”

So, we can look at struggle differently. You can’t make things happen if you don’t move forward in the face of adversity. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are never entitled to a result. Victory is a product of the fight and you owe it to yourself to progress through life’s ups and down and keep fighting.

We should also talk about Time. Time is the most precious asset that each person has. How you spend your day is how you spend your life. Every single day has only 24 hours that we must make count and make meaningful. You must make the most of time, because it passes very quickly, your days turn into weeks, which quickly turn into months, then years and just like that your life passes by.

So, what does it take to achieve success? It takes: dedication, commitment, perseverance, the ability to learn from your mistakes and not feel defeated, the ability to understand that time is of the essence and that you must wake-up, dress-up and show-up!

And that is all there is to it. Over to you!