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What Does It Mean to Be Successful

What Does It Mean to Be Successful? We all want to know what it really means to be successful. We hear celebrities say one thing about success, only to have our parents or peers say another. In addition to this, movies, pop culture, and many “gurus” seem to constantly provide conflicting messages on success as well.

One day they are saying that success is related to becoming famous, or attaining a certain level of wealth and social status. And a few month’s later, success is all about retiring early, and then a few weeks later, its all about building an organization which serves some great social cause. But guess what? They are wrong. Nobody, no matter how famous they are, gets to choose what success is for you.

Because here’s the thing, the definition of success that they’ve been feeding you over the years is incorrect. The definition of success that many of the “uber-successful” flaunt, is what success was to them. So, in short, they are projecting their concept of success on to you.

The Definition of Success

Fortunately, dictionaries have been updated to reflect a more accurate picture of what it really means to be successful. Indeed, the definition these days is as follows [1]:

  1. a degree or measure of succeeding.
  2. a favorable or desired outcome.
  3. one that succeeds.

So, what the definition of success essentially comes down to, is one’s own personal degree of measure in succeeding. Success is a favorable outcome that you choose to pursue, and if you miss it, well you fail.

However, if you hit YOUR mark, you have succeeded. Which means, success is a personal construct, not a societal construct.

What is a Good Definition of Success?

With that being said, and to better lend to the idea of what it really means to be successful, we want to share the best definition of success we’ve come across in our study of the rich, famous, not-so famous, and the successful. Here it is:

Success Is The Progressive Realization Of A Worthy Goal Or Ideal.

what it means to be successful

What Makes a Person Successful?

So, here is what these definitions about success mean and why is it important to you. It means you certainly don’t need to become a millionaire to be deemed successful. You don’t need to “make it” in Hollywood either. What it means, is that becoming rich and famous isn’t required for you to be considered a success.

This is important to note, because all too many people strive towards what’s important to them, only to have the media or pop culture icons hint that true success is what “they” say it is.

The great news is, you don’t have to feel like a failure any more just because your idea of success doesn’t align with some other person’s ideal. So long as you sincerely set your mind on reaching towards what’s important to you, and you are happy with those achievements once you reach them, then that’s all that really matters.

And this means, when it is all said and done, being a success truly comes down to each and every individuals own personal definition of success. And each person’s success is defined by well, each individual person.

So, what is success for you? Strive for that!

What is Failure?

Of course, we can’t talk about success without also discussing failure. So what is failure?

Well, for some it is bankruptcy, for others it is 2nd place. One person might be striving for retirement by 45, and if they miss their mark by a year, they may deem themselves a failure. But are they? Well, failure, much like success, is in the eye of the beholder.

Here’s the actual definition of failure [2]:

  1. a lack of success.
  2. the omission of an expected or required action.
  3. nonperformance of something due, required, or expected.

Now, in our opinion, if you set a goal for yourself, and don’t achieve that goal, it doesn’t mean your are not successful, nor does it mean you are a failure. To us, it merely means you missed a shot. But, so long as you keep shooting, you’ll never be a failure.

The TRUE Definition of Success

With that being said, here is a great short video from serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk on ‘The True Definition of “Success”. He touches on what his definition of success is, but also points out how one’s mindset determines whether or not we have succeeded. It is worth watching because it deals with the the subjectivity of it all, while also touching on the practical aspects of individual success.

(Video Credit: Gary Vaynerchuk Fan Page – Subscribe)

Final Thoughts on Success

So, what does it mean to be successful? Well, your final takeaway from this article should be this: that success is defined by you and you alone. How you think about and measure your success is on you.

So, in the future, the real question with regards to success should no longer be “What is the definition of success?”, rather, it should be “What is YOUR definition of success?”

Till next time,


PS – If you enjoyed this resource on what it means to be successful, then you’ll likely enjoy these success-related resources: