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The Definition of Success


The definition of success according to the online Merriam Webster dictionary is....

 a : degree or measure of succeeding b : favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.

This is fine as far as it goes. A deeper, more workable definition of success is needed. There are various elements that come into achieving success. Take another look at the above definition. Favorable or desired outcome. To have a favorable outcome you need to know what you were aiming for in the first place.

Let us take a look at a couple of scenarios.

Luck or Success

Joe wants to paint a beautiful landscape painting to sell and make some money. He gets his canvas and paint and starts painting.

Unfortunately his artwork looks like a childs drawing that should be put on his mothers refrigerator. He gets angry and starts slapping paint all over the canvas. Someone else sees his mess and declares "What an imaginative abstract painting!" They buy the canvas.

Well Joe got his favorable outcome, but was it a success? No, this is luck, which is nice if you can get it. The chances of it happening again are slim.

Anne, like Joe, wants to paint pictures to sell. She takes art classes to learn techniques. To find out about the market she visits different galleries to see what is selling. After a lot of practice she gets some professionals to critique her work. Then, taking taking their advice and constructive criticism, she works to improve on her technique. She will continue to do this until her paintings sell.

You can see the difference. Joe was lucky, Anne is successful. It takes a lot more planning and effort to be successful. Luck is usually a one time thing and unpredictable, success is a long time reward and achievable.

Rewarding Work

Success is not easy, it takes persistence, training, time and effort. Please do not be put off by that statement, succeeding at something is very rewarding in itself. You can also have fun along the way.

Another part of the above definition of success is degree or measure of succeeding. Each of the steps needed to succeed can be taken as mini successes. When Anne finished her art course it was a success and she would feel good about herself. Keep your goal in mind but enjoy the journey.

Wealth is Not Success

The last part of that definition, the attainment of wealth etc. I am not sure that it really fits, for a couple of reasons.

Was the attainment of wealth planned and worked towards (success), or was it an inheritance (luck)? What if you won a lottery? You might say that you took the time and effort to buy the ticket but it is still far more luck than success.

An interesting note here.

 A few years ago I read that just about all of the people who had won a lottery were broke within three years. I don't know if that is still true but it does not surprise me.

Success is sustainable, self made millionaires worked hard at learning how to make and handle money. They do not need to rely on luck. If something goes wrong and they end up penniless they have the tools to make another million or more. I understand that Donald Trump (the worlds famous rich man) went bankrupt a couple of times. He has the knowledge and drive to bounce right back.

Another point about the attainment of wealth, if you get rich at the expense of other areas of your life are you really successful? You might want to read the meaning of success.

Your Life Journey

So what is my definition of success? It is like a journey.

Know what you want (destination), see how to set goals.

Work out how to get there (Map).

Get the necessary tools (Vehicle).

Turn on your passion to succeed (Gas), see passion.

Overcome the obstacles (Detours, road blocks) that some will throw at you, see fear or success.

Enjoy the trip but don't forget the family.

Want to know the whole definition of success? look at the rest of this site, it will make the journey easier. And don't forget to send us a postcard, see Your Input. Also see how to Create Success.

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