What is success?

What is success?

When was the last time you thought about success and what being successful means in your life? Does your definition of success match up with what you’re focusing your time and energy on?



Traditional concepts of success


Years ago success was measured in terms of power, wealth or fame. Success equalled a busy and lucrative career, good relationships and family life, a great house, exciting vacations, lots of friends and, last but not least, plenty of money and material things. How you were perceived and what image you portrayed determined your success in society. Characteristics such as determination, hard work, interpersonal influence and wealth were held in high regard.


Perceptions have changed


According to researchers the abovementioned perceptions have changed somewhat. Today’s top achievers have a clear vision early in their career path of what they want to be one day. Success is then measured by whether that goal is achieved.


These days success has less to do with material symbols and more with personal satisfaction. Great emphasis is placed on happiness, contentment, acceptance, love and involvement in the community. Self-fulfilment is the modern word for success.


Young people today choose careers according to their personal liking and not necessarily what would guarantee enough money one day. This tends to cause conflict between parents and children, because parents know where their children’s skills lie and try to steer them in that direction. However, parents should allow their children to follow their dreams. It is important that your children find something they are passionate about and putting their work efforts into activities they love doing – only then will they reach their full potential and become successful.


“True success and happiness to me is the intersection of doing something you love (passion), what you’re good at (skill) and what the world needs (purpose). Many people focus on the first, but forget the second and most importantly, the last”, says Sonita Lontoh, Silicon Valley executive and entrepreneur.


Success by any other name


Success is a very subjective term and it doesn’t mean exactly the same thing to everybody. Here is a list of some people’s ideas of success:


    • Being happy


    • Doing what I love everyday


    • Helping others do what they love


    • Staying true to my values


    • Having respectful relationships with those around me


    • Reaching financial security


    • Being recognised as knowledgeable by peers


    • Having time to enjoy the little things in life


    • Not feeling stressed and overwhelmed on a regular basis


    • Being in control of my own future


    • Following my dreams


    • Setting and reaching meaningful goals


    • Uniting people to achieve a vision


    • Overcoming fear.


What is on your list?


Beeld, 18 May 2011
Nine successful people explain what that actually means. 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-steinmann/x-successful-people-expla_b_6252202.html


Revised by M van Os