What Is Your Personal Definition Of Success?

personal definition of success
What defines your success? What is your personal definition of success?

“If we’re not happy, then we’re not successful,” say The Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus.

Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, says, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

The Macmillan dictionary describes success – as a metaphor – this way, “Being successful is like being high up.” And the Oxford dictionary defines success as “the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.”

To some, success is a continual struggle. To some, success is a sense of peace.

One of the most parodied definition of success takes its cue from a Thomas Edison quote about genius, “Success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” The original words of Edison were, “Genius: one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

If we’re not happy, then we’re not successful. - The Minimalists Click To Tweet

A Personal Definition Of Success

Stop for a moment and answer this to yourself: What is success to you? How will you define success?

Perhaps, the best definition of success is this:

Success is achieving a balance in our priorities.

Because this remains forever green. But how does this definition defy withering with time?


Because this definition of personal success leaves enough space for our individual priorities , as well as does away with finding a new definition once our current priorities get shuffled.

Our priorities will always be an eclectic mix, and so will be the sweet point of our personal balance. But this definition of success will suit everyone’s personal point of view.

It factors in a sense of balance that differs for each of us in our lives. To one, the ratio between Colleagues:Friends could find a sweet balance at 30:70, while to another it could even out at 50:50. This definition respects the individuals that we are, and the differences that we bear.

The complexities of life and our choices at each moment keep changing throughout the years, but this definition keeps its integrity quite intact.

Still, ask yourself for your own definition, “How will I define success?”

#Success is achieving a balance in our priorities. Always remember that. Click To Tweet

The Two Demands of Success

If you think you understand what makes people successful, you may be dead wrong. The commonly held idea that success comes only to those who have natural talents – is a myth. Success is not about getting born with a special ability. If you are a child with a uniquely high IQ among your peers, does it predict a future of brilliant success? No!

Our natural abilities may help us get a head start in the game, but as their range keep changing throughout our years, they alone can not carry us to success.

Success, instead, demands two qualities:

  1. Constant Focus
  2. Endless Curiosity
Success demands 2 qualities: 1. Constant Focus 2. Endless Curiosity. Click To Tweet
Last Catalog Whole Earth

The Whole Earth – Last Catalog – June 1971

The picture above is from the back cover of the final issue of Whole Earth Catalog, an innovative publication by Stewart Brand. It shows a deserted early morning old country road. And the famous phrase, which Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder, later used in his inspirational Commencement Speech at Stanford University in 2005:

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Those 4 words were the personal definition of success for Steve Jobs. And those words are what he suggested we all make our own.

Carol S. Dweck says a similar thing in different words in her Mindset: The New Psychology of Success:

  1. Focus on Learning (Instead of focusing on Achievement)
  2. Adopt a Growth Mindset (Instead of adopting a Fixed Mindset)

A 5 Steps Plan To Success

According to Ronald E. Riggio, co-author of Transformational Leadership, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College, there are 5 steps to achieve success at work, education and relationships:

  1. Have A Plan – Make a S.M.A.R.T. plan, meaning Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.
  2. Study ‘The Game’ – Learn the rules of Social Intelligence.
  3. Learn From Failures – Analyze what went wrong and fix them for future.
  4. Live Up The Small Wins – Reward yourself for each milestone.
  5. Keep At It – Persist. Persist. Persist.

Final Words

Finally, most of us want to achieve success in life, but it’s always easier to define it than achieve it. Success is hard to come by.

While we go hunting for our successes , we may keep in perspective the wise words of Frank Lloyd Wright: We do not learn so much by our successes as we learn by failures – our own and others”.

Success and failure, both are essential experiences in our existence. We realize the importance of both when we look back on our lives. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards, as said Steve Jobs.

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. - Steve Jobs Click To Tweet

And after you have framed a personal definition of success, and before you set out on that journey, here are 7 Tips On How To Be Successful In Life.

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