The True Meaning of Success

What is the true meaning of success for you? Various people throughout the ages have defined success, and the interesting thing about these definitions is that none of them are the same. Many of them are very general, but all of them embody something personal.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to leave the world a better place; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—This is to have succeeded.”

Emerson clearly valued his success according to what other people thought of him, but he also valued his own personal sense of importance.  Emerson wanted to be needed and wanted people to like him.  To Emerson, success was all about the people in his life.

Albert Einstein saw success as a more general aspect of life.  He said, “If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y plus Z, with X being work, Y play, and Z keeping your mouth shut.”

For Einstein, success was simply about accomplishing your goal, whatever that is, so the true meaning of success changes for every person.

Lily Tomlin shows us just how success is like a living creature, ever changing and providing a new challenge at a moment notice.  “The road to success is always under construction,” she said.

Something that may be success today could be failure tomorrow, and the reverse is also true.  Success is simply hard to pin down, and you’ve got to be ready to change your definition of the term. 

Winston Churchill defined success as “going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”  This shows us that success is simply not giving up. 

The point of all of these quotes about success is to illustrate just how wide the meaning of it ranges. 

Success is truly anything you want it to be, and there can be many categories of success.  There can even be many ranges of success within each category. 

For example, you may consider financial success to be having so much money that you don’t know what to do with it all.  However, someone else may consider themselves financially successful if they are merely living comfortable.

According to the dictionary, success can be defined as achieving something you wanted or gaining fame or money.  This definition of success may explain why the true meaning of success appears to be so elusive. 

Our goals will naturally change throughout our lives, so of course the meaning of success will constantly change.  As our goals change, our true meaning of success will change a bit too. 

If success is achieving our goals, then the specifics of our success will always be different.  It’s important to realize this fact because you simply can’t expect to define success once in your life and then never think about it again. 

With each new goal you set, consider exactly what it means to be successful.  Achieving your goals is always success, but you have to decide on a personal level what degree of success you will be happy with.

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