What is Success? and How to Define Success in Life

What is Success? and How to Define Success in Life
Success is made up of courage, brains, and luck. Since the first two are a function of the third, you are pretty much own your own – Richard Jeni

You may have got the idea that this article will cover the meaning of success and shall answer the question: “How to define success in life?” and what is a successful life?

There are some questions in life which are tricky to answer and the meaning of it keeps changing as we progress in life. I mean, Success has many meanings and every person has a different meaning of success. Sometimes the respect in the community or the top jobs in the big organization or winning a race or losing 5kg weight in a week or simply being happy in life makes you feel successful. So the first question arises: What is a definition of success?

The oxford dictionary describes success as: “attaining wealth, prosperity and/or fame”.

In other words, you could say, success means the achievement of desired results of planned goals. Hence, if you can achieve your set goals, you will feel successful.

However, If the above definition was true then all the wealthy and famous people would be extremely happy but we often read that it’s not the case. The reason why we think in such a manner because Media and Society often let us conclude that living a successful life means to be extraordinarily wealthy and have a lot of assets. However, the true meaning of success goes far beyond the common definitions of success, such as having a lot of money, being wealthy, having a lot of tangibles and earned degrees. True success in life cannot be measured with the above-mentioned factors.

One day, a little child was playing in the drawing room, while his father was busy working on his laptop. As he was playing, he put his hand into the very expensive flower vase but when he tried to take it out, he could not withdraw it. His father rushed to the child and tried too, but all in vain. After trying everything, his father gave up and thought of breaking the vase. However, his mother said one last try, “My son, make one more try. Open your hand and hold your fingers out straight as you see me doing, and then pull.” his mother asked him to follow her.

To their surprise, the little fellow said, “Oh no, mother. I can not straight out my fingers like that, because if I did I would drop my penny.”

Smile, if you will- but many of us are like that little boy, so busy holding on to the world’s worthless possessions that blinding us to see what’s really important in life? what makes you happy?

1. My definition of success

To me, the only definition of ‘success’ I have in life is:

Look at your own life, and ask yourself a simple question, “Are you happy at this present moment?” If the answer is capital ‘YES’ — you are successful.

What is Success? and How to Define Success in Life
Success is simple. Do what is right, in the right way, at the right time – Arnold H. Glasow

Don’t dwell on the past and don’t worry about future, try to live in the present and make sure, your present is peaceful and happy.

What is Success? and How to Define Success in Life

2. Never compare yourself with anybody

Success is never a comparison. Success is judging you by your own rules, your own barometer.

For example, anything, by comparison, can be made small.

You can have a 30-story skyscraper. But it looks small compared to a Burj-Khalifa or Empire state building.

You have a blacked-out Lamborghini Huracan. But it looks puny compared to an armoured Batmobile.

You have a 10-room Mansion in the hills. But that looks puny compared to the 1000-room Versailles Palace or playboy mansion.

You can own an entire continent, but if you go to space, the entire earth looks like a tiny speck of dust. Therefore, stop comparing your success with others.

3. What is ‘success’ in life?

In life, I believe in the idea that your only judge is you.  So, the only person that can answer the above question is you. You judge your own actions, and morals, and ethics. You can create a facade for everyone but you can not lie to one person that is yourself.

What is Success? and How to Define Success in Life
Oscar Wilde said, “The biggest fool in this world is the one who lies to himself”

Some might define success as having luxurious cars and a huge mansion, whereas others consider a life full of joy and happiness with their family as the true meaning of success. Once you have figured out what is important for you personally you are able to focus on your visions and goals.

Earlier, I used to give importance to what others thought of my life and success. This is because I had little confidence in myself.

However, as I progressed in life and saw success and failure both, I understood one thing, for me, the bottom line is, if I feel good about myself, then that is it. I just want to be grateful for my own opinion, my own thought, and my own world-view. I am not trying to preach over self-indulgent but believe in yourself.

Always remember, Picasso had a lot of haters when he did cubism. Oscar Wilde, Steve Jobs, Jean Michel Basquiat, Narendra Modi all had many haters but they all kept going. The more successful you are, the more haters you will get.

If you’re doing something totally different, you’re going to have haters. But don’t hate your haters; love them. Feel pity for them, because they are just sad people who have unrealized dreams. They feel angry because they see you pursuing your dreams. Hence, never let anybody define your success except yourself.

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.” ― Pursuit of Happyness

Success quotes


To conclude this article, I would say, never stop following your passion in life. Don’t get surrender to other factors in life, define your success and work towards it. Don’t LIVE with what-If and regrets.  Live like what if today’s my last day.

The famous words of God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar :

What is Success? and How to Define Success in Life
Follow your heart, chase your dreams, dreams do come true

Even though he considered as the greatest batsman ever, It took him 22 years to win the world cup.

In the end, if success means different things to different people and has so much dogma around it, one must ask, should we actually be striving for success as others perceive? or Should we simply be looking at what makes us happy – knowing that if we follow our heart and do what we love, success in whatever form we desire will naturally follow.

Therefore, don’t try to measure or compare your success with others, try to Live the success by believe in yourself, following your dreams and writing your own journey. Always look at your own life, and ask yourself:

Do I feel successful?

If the Answer is No, then work towards changing it but If the answer is YES, then why do you care what others think? Unless you, yourself feel the success, you will never be successful or happy.

Be Happy, Stay Generous and Spread peace.

If you love to explore the different parts of the world then you may like to check out the awesome road trip – travel diaries about Heaven on Earth or Visiting Highlands.

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Please leave your comments about Success in life means to you and do share your views on it.

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18 thoughts on “What is Success? and How to Define Success in Life

Add yours

  1. There is some very good advice in your post. It’s also an important reminder, as you mentioned, to keep dreaming. And although difficult at times, you are correct in that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Nice article.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like your definition of success. To me, this is also the definition of happiness.
    As success is more a social concept, I don’t care to be successful for the society, as this can make me really unhappy. I prefer to put happiness first, and success will follow (usually) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I like your definition of success. To me, this could even be the definition of happiness. You can be successful but very unhappy, if you take the social concept of success for true and agree with it. That’s why I want to be happy, not successful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A very nice advice you have written. So true, these days people just want to win win and only win. Success is nowadays measured as if you have more than others than your successful, nobody is bothered if you are happy or not. Good post to remind everyone and I really loved what you wrote, “your only judge is you”. True words. !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Priya, glad you enjoyed reading it. It feels like we are all in the rat race which is going nowhere so Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and try to identify what do we really want in life?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It is true that success is what you make of it. And it is important to never measure your success with someone else’s. It will never make you happy with what you have and achieved on your own.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Riely, The feeling of being successful is not often what we think it will be if you know what I mean. As a kid we all wanted to grow up fast but once we are grown up, we realized being kid was the best thing.


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