My last post Success and the Chicken Ding Generation, inspired by a conversation on the trend for ‘Celebrity’ has set off a chain of thoughts that I am going to use as the foundations for a few blogs. Stick with me as I explore these thoughts and let me know what you think about the topics. In this blog, I want to focus on what ‘success’ means. As a word it seems to stir thoughts of fame, fortune, power; that is certainly how you might perceive it, with the associations that are often made with it, particulalry in the context of ‘celebrity’. Is that really what it means though?

Success – A dictionary definition

According to the Chambers dictionary success, is defined as follows:

  1. An act of succeeding
  2. The state of having succeeded
  3. Upshot (obsolete)
  4. Prosperous progress, achievement, or termination
  5. Prosperity
  6. Attainment of wealth, influence or acclaim
  7. A successful person, book, affair, etc

Having read that list, those things fame, fortune and power I suggested above fit with number 5 & 6, however, they are not the whole meaning of success.

Is success really binary?

If we take the meaning of success to be that you have fame/fortune/power (cross out those that do not apply) then it becomes a binary characteristic, you either are or you are not. Is it really that black and white? Then at what point do you become a ‘success’? I think it is not binary and that is certainly not where I would like to focus my attention. I believe success is a continuum and should be used in the context of achieving things you set out to do, overcoming challenges, achieving goals, etc. In that sense more people are and everyone can be successful; success becomes much more of a personal and attainable ‘thing’. There are a couple of quotes I would like to share that encapsulate my take on success:

Success is steady progress toward one’s personal goals. Jim Rohn


Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal. Earl Nightingale

Over to you

Is success a binary characteristic?

What does success mean to you?

Let me know what you think.

successful business woman on a laptop
Creative Commons License photo credit: Search Engine People Blog