What is success?

Action is the foundational key to all success. ~ Pablo Picasso

How do you define success? Is it wealth? Is it happiness? Is it the number of social media “likes” you get? Webster’s dictionary has three definitions;

  1. The fact of getting or achieving wealth respect or fame (this is the worst definition of the 3 options in my opinion!).
  2. The correct or desired result of an attempt (and the attempt is as valuable as the outcome).
  3. Someone or something that is successful: a person or thing that succeeds (and what that means is entirely up to you).

Success cannot be defined in one sentence. It is comprised of many things and the definition depends on the individual. One size does not and should not fit all. It turns out we are particularly bad at predicting what will make us happy. The happiness boost from material or status gain, like a new car or promotion, wanes quickly as we adapt to our new circumstances as the new normal. Wealth and fame are dangerous things on which to pin our wellbeing.

The purpose of defining your own success is to start living a life based on your own values, strengths and goals. The actions that bring you joy, a sense of accomplishment, contribution and progress are where you should be investing your energy.

How do you define success for yourself? I would love to hear how you think you are living your successful life in the Comments section.

If you don’t feel like you are living a successful life, you could spend some time reflecting on what you want and need out of life and match your core values and strengths to concrete goals that are meaningful to you. It can be incredibly difficult to reject the Siren Song of society’s definition of success but pursuing your own definition is worth the effort. Being rich and happy all of the time are not achievable goals for most of us. Feeling self-worth and a sense of meaning and contribution are more enduring and achievable.

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