What Is Success? 9 Thought Leaders Share Their Definition

We all want to be successful. We want to eat healthily, exercise regularly, raise well-rounded children, build groundbreaking companies, etc.

But what is success? Is it feeling passionate about what you do? Is it overcoming obstacles and turning them into opportunities? Is it living a life you can feel proud of when you look back in retrospect?

Here are 9 definitions of success from some of the most successful people in academia, entrepreneurship, basketball and more.

1. Mike Krzyzewski

mike krzyzewski

Qualities Of Worlds Most Successful People

Define your own success and failure; only you know whether or not you have given it your all.

To be successful, you must strive to become your best self. And while perfection is impossible, striving for it isn’t. If you give your absolute best every day – even if it’s a 1% improvement – success will come naturally.

2. James Altucher

james altucher

Fears Of Unsuccessful People

The definition of “success” for me is: “Is today successful?” Today is the only day I need to think about success. And every successful tomorrow is determined by one thing: having a successful today.

Success comes from constant and never-ending improvement in every area of you life – mentally, emotional, physically, financially, etc. Always ask yourself, what can I improve in? And commit to taking action, consistently. Are you giving your absolute best, today?

3. John Wooden

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Successful People With Disabilities

Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

Only one person can judge the level of your success – you. You must strive for your personal best because when you do, you achieve success.Remember, it’s your responsibility to celebrate your successes. Don’t wait for your friends and your family to pat you on the back. Always go first.

4. Carol Dweck

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Things Successful Women Do

Those with the growth mindset found success in doing their best, in learning and improving. And this is exactly what we find in the champions.

The reality is many of us celebrate results. The winning touchdown, the job promotion, the A grade, etc. But seldom do we celebrate our efforts. The focus and determination we exerted to make the outcome a reality. Successful people see their results as a by-product of their efforts. They know it’s the process that matters. 

5. Hal Elrod

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Things That Inspire Us To Be Successful

How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life.

As the old saying goes, “If you win the morning, you win the day”. How do you begin your day? Do you wake up excited to work on your goals, or do you press the snooze button and pull the covers over your head? If you have the discipline to wake up early, you have the discipline to achieve any goal and success in any endeavour.

6. Shawn Achor

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Success is not just about how much intelligence you have; it’s about how much of your intelligence you believe you can use.

“He’s more intelligent that I am”. “She’s prettier than me”. “They had a better upbringing than I had”. This is a cop-out. Realise, people succeed not because of their advantages, but in spite of them. Believe you can increase your resourcefulness and take action – and you will.

7. T. Harv Eker

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You have to believe that you are the one who creates your success, that you are the one who creates your mediocrity, and that you are the one creating your struggle around success.

If you’re not succeeding in an aspect of your life it’s probably becauseyou don’t believe, on some unconscious level, you deserve to succeed. But this is a good thing: it means it’s within your control and you can change it. You do deserve success. Everyone does. And the sooner you tell yourself that – and believe it – the sooner it will come.

8. Chris Hadfield

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Success is feeling good about the work you do throughout the long, unheralded journey.

There are going to be days when your boss doesn’t recognise your efforts, your coach won’t let you play, your partner doesn’t appreciate your sacrifices – but what’s most important is that you feel good about what you’ve done. The road to success is long – remember to see how far you’ve come already.

9. Marshall Goldsmith

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Change doesn’t happen overnight. Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. If we make the effort, we will get better. If we don’t, we won’t.

The most successful people in life and business don’t rely on motivation and willpower to achieve their goal; they rely on habits.These tiny behaviours are perceptibly insignificant at first glance, but overtime produce extraordinary results. Success is built sequentially – one habit at a time. 

Success isn’t always a result of achieving a goal; sometimes, it’s a simple as having a goal to begin with.

How do you define success?

BySam Thomas Davies

Sam Thomas Davies scouts the leading edge of the human sciences for what is new, surprising, and important. He writes about research-based ways to improve habits, add new skills and sustain excellence. To learn how to seize the potential of your life, read his free eBook.

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