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What is the true definition of success?

true definition of success

“Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.”

― Aldous Huxley

Success, what does this word mean? In the Oxford Dictionary, it is simply described as ‘the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose’ the aim or purpose here could be wealth, social status or fame. This definition, generally speaking, envelops all the other definitions of success. However, when we think about the importance of the word in our lives, this definition looks quite bland. It fails to do justice to the greatness of the feeling that we think we ought to feel when we become successful. It barely describes the divine positive glow that we perceive on the faces of the so-called successful people.

So, rather than believing in what the dictionary tells us, we search for the right definition in movies, in self-help books, in biographies or in any other medium that describes success as a superbly grand feeling of achieving something. We experience a part of that feeling while going through these movies or books, and thus form the opinion that success might be the only thing worthwhile in life. If we do not become successful, our life amounts to nothing.

Misrepresentation of success by the media

rags to richesLife is much more ordinary in comparison to how the media makes it appear. Over the decades, after careful evaluation and manipulation of its viewers, media has apprehended a very particular picture of what its users want from it. Whatever we see on the most popular media outlets has to first pass through a series of quality tests that determines the commercial viability of the content. In short, we are not told the truth, but we are told that which is entertaining.

In this scenario, the word ‘success’ has emerged as something of great brand value. For example, people particularly like to see the ‘rags to riches’ story. The story about a person from humble backgrounds who strove hard for greatness and success, and ultimately achieved them after putting in much effort and hard work. This story generates a high viewership and – if told in an effective way – it never fails to move the audience.

The psychology behind it is quite simple. Most of us can relate to the person with humble backgrounds, and what the person ultimately achieves is what we want from our lives. No, we do not particularly like acting or singing or creating something; we like to be rich, famous and – most of all – to be appreciated for what we are doing. From his example, the person of the story shows us a way of getting what we want, and inspired by that, we decide to make our career choice, which has nothing to do with our genuine interests and everything to do with our desire to be recognized and to be loved. 

Don’t judge a book by its cover


Looks can be deceiving. What we see in the media is just the face. It is far from the complete truth. For every person succeeding, there are thousands of failures, and since those who give the opportunities to others themselves are so imperfect, sometimes even the truly talented don’t get a chance. The worst part is, as a failure without success doesn’t have a brand value, it gets completely edited out. We don’t even hear about it. The only failure we mostly come across in media is the transient one that comes in the life of the so-called successful. It is an extremely brief account of years of hardships that lasts for just a few minutes on the screen or a couple of pages in books. It is ultimately overshadowed by the success that comes right after that.

This might sound painful. But this is the truth. Just like media, we too edit it out from our conscience, letting only the rosy celluloid dreams stay there. It’s easier to do than to question the veracity of the range of information that we come across on a daily basis. As what would our lives be if we find out that even our hardest efforts might not give us the result we desire?

The thing we commonly believe in as success is nothing substantial. It is a myth created by the media for its own gains. We must get past it and discover a reliable and more realistic definition of success if we want to save ourselves from any deception and disappointment. Here is how you should go about it.

Success lies in the process, not in the achievement

Success lies in the processIf you have ever seen how a movie is made you might know that it is a very tedious and boring process. Same is the case with writing a book or practicing for a sport or even devising a business strategy. All these things would appear boring to everyone. But not to those who feel an irrepressible inner urge to excel in them, to master them. Such people are more interested in thoroughly learning the craft than to be able to make money and fame out of it. They won’t leave it even if they are told that success and fame just don’t exist in what they are doing.

This is what the true calling is. To be able to enjoy and to have a profound interest in what you are doing. It is one of the better definitions of success. Doing things just for the sake of money isn’t the way to go. Work is likely to occupy most part of your adult life. Luxury, comfort or anything you make from money, though important, would fill a comparatively smaller portion of your life.  Making career decisions based on something like that is bound to repress your inner instinctive impulses. This might lead to general dissatisfaction with life.

The true definition of success is subjective

winning approachEverybody is different, and so success is different for everybody. There aren’t a few types of jobs that no one likes to do. However, to progress as a society, it is necessary that those jobs be done. Many of us, who are unable to discover their true calling, settle for something they don’t find that attractive. It’s okay if you do that too. You can look for your success in other things.

You don’t have to be rich and famous to make your loved ones proud of you. Just be there with them. Understand the little things that make a difference in their lives, and make doing them your top priority. Be kind to others. Rather than looking for happiness in what you do, just be happy and do your work. Happiness is a choice that you can make and not a condition. True success lies in choosing to be happy not in wishing for happiness.

Success adds meaning to life

… but make sure that you are on the right path. The mere idea of success brings a spark in your eyes. There are no hard and fast rules but it is also true that most people fail to make an effective plan or to keep themselves equally motivated which takes success miles away from them. If you do not keep yourself positive and make consistent efforts to get closer to success, failure is just around the corner. How can you ensure that you are on the right road to success? Read on to know more.

Hard work may or may not be important

The first thought that comes to mind when you talk about achievements or success is hard work. Most people have a firm belief that it is important to work hard and to suffer to get success. However, there are many examples of those who touched greater heights of success in life but work smart or enjoy the process of achieving their goals.

Hard work may only turn out to be a clean waste of time if you are not moving in the right direction or have clarity of thoughts. Psychologists believe that you have lesser chances to succeed if you do not enjoy the process of working hard towards your goals. In fact, it is not hard work but a rare combination of different ingredients that make you successful.

Others contribute equally

Those people who think that with a strong determination and one-mindedness they can get success may end up feeling disappointed. You not only need other people’s feedback but can also use their suggestions to add value to your efforts. Be it your family members, friends, relatives, co-workers or other important people in life, everyone contributes one way or another.

Short-term desires or long-term goals

Each individual has some long-term goals as well as countless short-term goals. Successful people make a perfect balance between them and set they set their priorities straight. Most others get confused and fail to make a decision. If you wish to make your career, you cannot afford to hang out aimlessly with your friends for hours. Those who do not make a strategy are usually left with nothing but regrets. Follow a routine so that you can enjoy short-term desires and reach your long-term goals too.

Work on your self

The first thing that guarantees success is accepting the fact that you need to make some changes in your routine of work. Replace your old habits with new ones and unblock your full potential. Observe and adopt the strict work routine of successful people and witness your life moving on the path of success. Try as hard as successful people do and do not let anything come between you and your dreams.

Believe in your self

Believe in yourself

No matter how hard you try, it would still be impossible to achieve your target until you have full faith in yourself. Analyze each different aspect and think through your goals once you make your mind so that you know it in your heart that it is possible for you.

The hard work you put in, the sleepless night you have and all the effort simply goes down the drain if you do not believe in yourself. Do not entertain self-defeating and powerless thoughts as they may turn your life upside down. Without a firm belief in yourself, you keep coming up with excuses of all kinds to avoid taking action.

Start from scratch, observe the daily routine of successful people and make changes in your routine. Follow the plan strictly and feel the change within a period of a few days. You can achieve what seems impossible if you know what you are doing.

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