Defining Success

What Makes Some People Successful and Others Not

What is success?  I define it as achieving a desired lifestyle with financial security combined with an infusion of cultural traits like stability, happiness, humility, mindfulness and public service.

How can you become successful in life?

  1. Education. This is an ongoing, lifetime endeavor.  We should never stop learning and developing our minds, body and spirit. – “knowledge is power”
  2. Support. Family stability is important as is encouragement from family, friends and teammates (whoever it is that makes up the support structure).  This builds self-esteem, positive self image and an ability to trust.  These things are critical traits to have if you want to succeed.  You must believe in yourself and trust in others.  You can’t do it alone.
  3. Humility. High self-esteem and belief in yourself can easily turn into arrogance if not kept in check by humility and mindfulness (respect for others).  Generosity and public service are an important part of being humble and mindful of others.
  4. Enthusiasm (Self-Motivation). No one other than you can motivate you to succeed.  It has to come from inside.  In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm”.
  5. Self-Restraint. Our economic system encourages people to live in denial about the future by coercing them into buying “stuff” now that they don’t need.  Balance in life is hugely important.  We should enjoy the “now” while at the same time planning and saving for the future.  In the words of Confucius “he who does not economize will have to agonize”.
  6. Dream. Every great idea started with a dream.  Trying new things brings successes and failures.  We sometimes learn from our successes but we always learn from our failures.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and fail. Always have a humble disrespect for the status quo.
  7. Work Ethic. If you don’t work hard you cannot be successful.

In the words of coach Jim Valvano, “I like to remember where I started.  I know where I am, and I know where I’m going, and I’m confident I’m going to get there.  I’m going to be enthusiastic every day that God gives me on this earth.  I am going to dream my dreams.  I am going to work hard and accept failures.  I am going to laugh a lot along the way and believe in the people I work with, the people who work for me, and the people I work for.  And there’s nothing that’s going to stop me from succeeding”.


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