How to define the meaning of success

Success means many things to many people. The key is to figure out what the meaning of success is for you and then pursue that goal with all your might.

The meaning of success: Walking up stone steps

No one strives for failure, especially when it comes to their career. But how do you strive for success when you don’t even know what it looks like?

The key to achieving genuine success is to forget what everyone else says and instead define the meaning of success for yourself. This isn’t easy, but if you are chasing someone else’s dream you’ll never really feel like you’ve ‘made it’.

Figure out what matters to you, ignore the critics and pursue your personal goal persistently and with passion. And don’t forget, this way the meaning of success is yours to redefine whenever you feel your current goal isn’t making you happy or fulfilled.

Defending your meaning of success

‘You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful,’ said Michael Dell. ‘You just need a framework and a dream.’

In other words, you need to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

Think of it like a dream holiday. If you love skiing, you wouldn’t let someone else book a trip to a tropical island just because that’s more popular would you?

And if you’re terrified of flying then you wouldn’t get on an airplane just because it’s the fastest or most common way of getting there. Would you?

It’s the same when it comes to defining and defending your meaning of success. Know what you want and what matches your values and interests and stick with it. Anything else will be a disappointment.

The top of the stairs

Once you’ve decided what success means, what your personal goal is and how you plan to get there, it’s also important to remember that you can:

  • Hop over to another staircase (have multiple goals)
  • Head up another staircase once you’ve reached the top
  • Sit on the landing and enjoy the view

No one else can decide what success will look like for you, how you will get there or tell you it’s not enough unless you permit it. Define success for yourself so you can recognise when you’ve reached it and realise when you want more.

(Hat tip to Anders Lejczak for the photo)

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