“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Lord Krishna

Download Chapter on Defining Success

Many people know they want to be successful, but few have a good definition of what success is or what it looks like. As a result, their actions take them in many different directions, some towards success and many away from success. We want to define success so that every day we can choose actions that are making us successful and avoid actions that will disrupt our success. We want a guiding concept that keeps us on the path we have chosen.

Top Concepts Mentioned in Definitions of Success

We categorized the key words mentioned in over 250 definitions of success and determined the 4 top concepts were:

  1. Contentment which includes satisfaction and fulfillment.
  2. Others which includes building positive relationships and creating a better world.
  3. Achievement which includes reaching your goals.
  4. Happiness

Happiness or concepts related to happiness were mentioned 68% of the time in the definitions of success.

The concept of wealth which includes financial stability was only mentioned 6% of the time.

Here are two videos and a worksheet from a workshop on Connecting Happiness and Success.

Connecting Happiness and Success workshop worksheet 2_15_14


Definition of Success – Examples

 “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” John Wooden

“Success is being content, happy and satisfied with who you are, and continuously striving and challenging yourself to be the best person you can be.”

 “Success is knowing at the end of each day that I did my best and I made a positive impact on those around me.”

 “To me, having a successful life is being able to do things independently for myself and not always have someone there to do things for me. It’s achieving my goals on my own terms and at my own pace.” High school student with mobility impairment

  “My definition of success is achieving true self-fulfillment so that I can feel happiness and peace of mind about my past, present and future situation.”

  “Success is personal satisfaction of giving all of your effort and ability no matter the task or outcome”

  “My definition of success is to encourage growth and passion in all of my pursuits, relationships and myself.”

  “A feeling of peace of mind and genuine happiness based on having lived up to one’s potential.” Bob Burg

  “For me, success is about making a positive contribution to the world and sharing my best self.”

 “Success is making the best of the opportunities that are presented to us in order to do good things for ourselves and for those around us.”

 “Success? That’s an easy one. BE HAPPY!” High school student with a learning disability