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How is success achieved?

Success has various meanings, depending on the point of view of the person trying to achieve it.
Man in suit walking and indicating success with open arms
© Deakin University

Success has various meanings, depending on the point of view of the person trying to achieve it.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as ’favorable or desired outcome; also: the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence’.

Are wealth, respect or fame your measures of success? Is that really all that it comes down to?

Let’s take a look at what some prominent figures consider success to be.

Arianna Huffington—Founder of Huffington Post

Most people think of success as money and power. To live the lives we truly want and deserve, we need to add another dimension. Huffington says this dimension ‘consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving’.

Winston Churchill—Former British Prime Minister

Churchill defined success as ‘going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm’. So we might need to persevere even in tough times to reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sir Richard Branson—businessman/entrepreneur

Branson says that ‘too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people they associate with’. He suggests true success should be measured by how happy you are.

Leila Hoteit—partner and manager at BCG

In her TED talk, Leila, an Arab engineer, advocate and mother in Abu Dhabi, summarises her key to success as: having the resilience ‘to convert sh*t into fuel’, working on your home life with the same energy you work on your career and realising collaborating is more productive than competing.

Success according to these prominent figures can be summed up as:

  • giving (volunteering)
  • persistence (drive through the tough times)
  • happiness (don’t just work yourself to the bone, enjoy life outside of work).

Your task

What do you think of these definitions of success? Do you agree with these statements? Discuss in the comments.

© Deakin University
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