definition of success

Were you successful in 2017?

How do you know if you were or weren’t successful?

Ultimately, everyone wants to feel successful—but what does that mean? What is the definition of success? What does “success” look and feel like?

The Definition Of Success

Often when we talk casually about success, we’re referring to those people who have billions of dollars in the bank or those who have significant influence over others.

But is that everyone’s definition of success? Can you only be “successful” if you make millions and lead a team of thousands?

Of course not.

Each person defines success differently.

Maybe success to you meetings hitting certain metrics at work. Maybe it means making it to your daughter’s soccer games every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Maybe success is finally recording that album you’ve been dreaming of since you were a teenager. Maybe success is a number in the bank.

Ultimately, your success stems from the type of life you want. What is your ideal work-life balance? What are your goals in life? What will make you feel most fulfilled?

Below are some of our favorite quotes about success from some of the most “successful” people in the world.

Success Quotes

definition of success

“Too many people measure how successful they are by how much money they make or the people that they associate with. In my opinion, true success should be measured by how happy you are. I know I am successful, wealthy, and connected, because I am happy. I wholeheartedly believe that happiness should be everyone’s goal.”

– Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

Definition Of Success

“Success, for me, has always been in providing a great quality of life for my family, for those who work for me, and to my community.”

– Jeremy Young, CEO of Tanga

definition of success

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

– Maya Angelou

definition of. success

“Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.”

– Deepak Chopra, in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

definition of success

“To me, the definition of success is waking up in the morning with a smile on your face, knowing it’s going to be a great day. I was happy and felt like I was successful when I was poor, living six guys in a three-bedroom apartment, sleeping on the floor. To me, the thing about it is finding something that you love to do and then trying to be great at it. If you really love what you do, then you’re never working.”

– Mark Cuban, interview with Steiner Sports

definition of success

“If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience, you will find your definition of success.”

– Stephen Covey to The New York Times

definition of success

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

– Robert Collier


definition of success

“Warren Buffet has always said that the measure [of success] is whether the people close to you are happy and love you. It is also nice to feel like you made a difference—inventing something or raising kids or helping people in need.”

– Bill Gates in a Reddit AMA

How To Find Your Success

You’ve seen what other people have to say about success… now what do you say? How can you build your own definition of success?

1. Relate your lifelong dreams.

What is something you’ve always wanted to do? Have you always wanted to write a bestselling self-help book? travel to Bora Bora? eat your way across California? free dive in the Arctic?

What’s on your bucket list?

This doesn’t mean that doing everything on your bucket list will necessarily make you “successful,” but it can help you determine how you value success. Do you value awards, experiences, or relationships? What do the primary items on your bucket list look like? What kind of definition of success can you extrapolate from your “life goals”?

2. Think of your proudest achievements.

What are the achievements of which you’re most proud? This is not necessarily the same as the “greatest” achievements—but the ones that make you feel the best. Why are you so proud of those specific achievements? What makes them so pride-worthy for you? What makes them feel “good”?

Then, think of what attributes helped you attain those achievements. What qualities did you need for these accomplishments? These qualities will help you not only define success but also outline the steps you need to take in order to succeed. For example, maybe you’re proudest of the leap you took to start your side job, so you value courage. Maybe you’re proudest of an XL quilt you made, because you value creativity.

Those characteristics will tell you the attributes that will bring you towards your idea of success. The types of traits you value will tell you how to live your life in a personally successful way.

3. Consider your work-life balance.

What does your ideal work-life balance look like? How much time do you spend at work, with your family, with your partner, with your friends, and by yourself? Your personal definition of success boils down to whether or not you can balance your life in a way that will make you happy.

4. Realize that there are levels of success.

You can have daily successes and you can have lifelong successes—and you can have everything in between. Your lifelong successes and dreams will help you understand your long-term vision. It will help you realize how you want to live your life in accordance with your personal success definition. You can then work towards daily successes in a way that will bring you towards greater lifelong success.

Every day can be a success in its own right. And every day can bring you towards enduring success.

The Bottom Line

How can you be successful if you don’t know what “success” looks like to you? Success is what you say it is. As you enter the new year, it’s time to build your own metrics of success.

As you go into 2018, it’s important that you define success for yourself. Understanding your own success definition will give you goals to work towards. Get rid of the noise around you; ignore how other people define success. It’s time to achieve the work-life balance you imagine and desire.

How will you define success in 2018?

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

Share this article with your own definition of success!