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What Is Success?

Success. We ponder it. We desire it. We train for it. We work for it. We’re disappointed if we don’t have enough of it. Sometimes we even make ourselves physically or emotionally sick with stress in the pursuit of it.

But what is success really? Is it Money? Fame? Material possessions? Happiness? Is it all or none of the above?

Merriam-Webster defines success as, "the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame." While the Oxford Dictionary describes success as, “A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth etc.”

In our culture success is inextricably linked with money, power, and fame. Whether the benchmark is the latest tech gadget, managing more people, more zeros on our paycheck, or a more impressive job title, we’re discovering that those old definitions of success are just that, old and outdated.

Many of us adopt the idea of what we were taught in school or at home - that success is finding a good job, getting a raise, taking vacations, buying a nice car, getting married, buying a house, having children. While that may represent success to some, these days, there is no one-size-fits-all. We now have the freedom to customize our definition of success to our dreams and ideals.

Now that we have seemingly unlimited options in defining success for ourselves, how do we do that?

It may help to think of success as an event achieved through the process of personal development and mastery. In that case, a practical, day-to-day working definition of success would be described as, the favorable outcome of something attempted. That feels more manageable.

So what is success? I've come to know that it is whatever you say it is, because you get to decide what success means to you.


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