Defining Success, What Success Stories don’t Tell You

Defining Success

Defining Success is a very relative idea. Some might think it just starts with the simple lookup of the definition, but its much more than that.

In the society that we live in success is used so frequently, we often can’t even define success. But the thing is, what is the actual definition? According to Webster Success is defined as: The accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Well sounds simple enough right? Not necessarily, because there are also a few other literal definitions to keep in mind: The attainment of popularity or profit, and a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

Now that is where things get confusing.

What is Success to You?

This is the real question that needs to be asked. Since we are all different and we are all individuals, defining success is definitely something we have to come up with on our own. So what actually is success to you?

Well, there are many ways to think of it. Some might be looking strictly for the intrinsic rewards (money, fame, materials) and others might have something different (family, helping others, etc.). In the end, you have to ask yourself, what is success? The answer to that question might not come quickly but it will.

There will be that one thing that changes everything for you, from there you will know that is what you will do to be successful.

What Makes you Successful?

Fortunately this goes hand in hand with the last question you asked yourself. From there you will go on to figure out what really makes you successful. The thing is, with all of our definitions being different we might have similar but different answers.

What makes you successful? Well, the bottom line here is when you are truly successful, your time spent here on Earth was used to the fullest and benefited mankind in some way. No you do not have to find the next cure for a major disease, or invent something that changes the world. More simply you have to be able to give your time to others and help your fellow man.

If you ask me that is a very good idea of what makes you successful. But that isn’t the only thing that will make you successful. For instance, lets say you see success as founding a company and making X amount of revenue for a year, if you hit that goal, then that is success to YOU.

Now again, that doesn’t apply to everyone. But the big thing here is I want you to take something away that is more than just an idea of money or materials. The idea that a success happens when you benefit not only yourself, but others around you. Once that happens, that is a major key factor into what makes you successful.

Being a Leader

Tying back into what makes you successful, helping others around you is a major factor. In defining success, being a leader is huge. If you are leading others toward success, then you are not only helping define success for you, but you are giving them a real idea of what success is to them. Leaders generally look for the good as a whole, not just themselves.

Success weighs heavy on the impact you have on others lives, and a leader does just that. They impact their team more than anyone else can or will. Being a leader is crucial, every team, organization, group, or even circle of friends needs one. With that power you have the ability to change the game for those around you.

Related: What does it Take to be a Leader?

Again, a Big Question

How do you get Motivated for Success?

Now this is a tricky one, motivation for success comes in many shapes and sizes. However, motivation is different for each and every person.

For Instance, some people might look up an infographic like this: 3-keys-for-defining-success-infographic

This often will give you the slightest edge on motivation for success for yourself. Infographics are a wonderful way of finding a bit of motivation, and in turn giving your mind something to see, and something to think about.

Most of these as well are visually appealing, giving your eyes a break from reading all of the black and white of the screen. Plus who doesn’t like seeing pretty colors huh?

There are some pretty amazing infographics out there about success and motivation. Defining success is another story, but check out this infographic by LifeHack for their look on the secret to success.

Another way to help get and stay motivated are simply success quotes!

Success Quotes are a Foolproof way of Psychologically motivating yourself

You might think this is a bit silly, but you would be so surprised about how much just taking a few minutes and reading up on some famous success quotes helps with motivation.

To make it a bit easier, here are the Top 5 Success Quotes I love the Most:

  1. “Success is the Result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” –Collin Powel
  2. “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at it.” –Stephen Hawking
  3. “Hustle until your haters ask if you’re hiring”. –Unknown
  4. “I never dreamed about success, I worked for it”. –Estee Lauder
  5. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember an airplane takes off against the wind”. –Henry Ford

As you can see, it does not take a ton of words, or listening to a speech or watching an hour long interview to get a quick bit of motivation for success. Everything ties into each other, when you start living and breathing the drive to be successful, that is when you define success with the definition you’ve created.

Now lets side step a bit.

Motivational Stories inspire Success

So we have a huge picture here when it comes to defining success. Now by no means am I telling you to compare yourself to others successes, but in this sense it is good to see others being successful. However, there can be two types of reactions from seeing so, you can be motivated, or you will fall down on yourself.

Motivational stories definitely can be a hit and miss when defining success, but if we can ensure that it is indeed a hit, why wouldn’t we look at and follow more of them?

Well, the first fall back is when I read or hear about someone being motivational or finding success doing something they love, I get upset and compare where I am in life.

That is the worst thing you can do for yourself.

Defining success comes from you and you alone. No one else will define success the same way that you do. Yes, psychologically we are prone to comparison, but we have the ability to take ourselves further. We can use these motivational stories for fuel. For instance, take Steve Jobs. He was the founder and mastermind behind the global tech giant, Apple Computers.

Now, Jobs story isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, there we many controversies and issues that happened, but the basis was that he had a dream and a vision, and created his reality. Currently Apple is controlling around 12% of Total Operating System Market share, solely through their iPhone devices worldwide (See Smartphone OS Market Share).

Now Finding Motivation from these stories might be Difficult, but not Impossible.

Success Stories

Here is another one which we can all relate to. We see very few success stories, and more of those of failures.

Unfortunately in the society that we live in, we are more likely to see people talking about how someone has failed, versus how they have been successful.

This is a huge tool in your arsenal of defining success, and a sort of Race Gas to the Engine of Defining Success. Why? Well,  since there are very few, they can be inspirational. Success stories will often show the triumph people and companies have had over the course of the journey. The thing with those is that they can be relatable.

For instance, Check out these 8 Great Entrepreneurial Success Stories by the crew at Entrepreneur magazine.

You are in control of creating your own success story as we speak. The thing is, you have to get started on the thing you have a vision for, or the dream that you want to accomplish. Without having the action behind your dreams and vision, you will also be another one of the statistics.

Studies show that close to 66% of small businesses will last two years. From that as well, 50% are prone to fail the first year being open. Leaving a third that will not make it past the two year mark. (See What Percentage of Small Businesses Fail – The Real Number).

Staggering huh?

Well, if you are to take anything away from this, please take this: Just because there is a statistic or a study, does not mean you have to be a part of it.

An idea will continue to flourish no matter how many studies are out. Your dream will burn within you no matter how many people tell you that the statistics are against you. You have to push.

Success stories are there for you to take a look at, no matter what, you have to focus on creating your own. However, success stories don’t tell you the whole truth when it comes down to how you define success.

There is No Secret to Success

That is the big bombshell.

There is no secret to success. As success is a very relative term, we define success in our own ways, nothing will dictate that unless we let it.

What I really want you guys to see, that there is so many ways you can think about this topic, and none of them will really tell you that it really just starts with you. You have to understand that success isn’t just going to happen, you also have to see where you define success, not your peers, parents, siblings, no one but you.

The secret to success is that there is no secret to success.

No matter what, moving forward, when you are using all of the resources I’ve shown you to gain that little bit of motivation, think about why you want to push. Why you want to give it your all and accomplish your dreams. What does it take to get to the level that you want, or to actually be happy with your life and where you are going.

Take a moment and really ask yourself.

The answer to that question will be how you  actually define success.


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Dustin Meyer

Free thinking, somewhat radical, and very passionate. Take a trip through the mind of the creator and dreamer behind The Evolutionary Mind.


  1. [ Smiles ] Hmm. No secret to success? Most interesting.

    However, if one is disciplined enough to go after their goals, there would be a high chance of the them becoming successful (Now, that is merely my perspective).

    Also, thank you for posting such a lovely thought-provoking article.

  2. Really liked reading this article, thank you for sharing your wisdom.
    We come from a similar perspective at The Success Trinity, where we see that success has many definitions, but the only one that matters is the one you choose.

    Unfortunately, this is not the most earth shattering perspective, but it is incredibly insightful. Success does not come from what is around us, but originates from within us. We must decide what is the most important lever that drives the feeling of “success”. It is often broken down into one of four buckets: fame, fortune, self-respect or to change the world.

    Once again, greatly appreciate this post. We appreciate that smart people like you see the world similarly.


    • And thank you again for reading,

      I always look forward to hearing from like minded individuals like you stated, and it definitely makes things that much better seeing the world similarly as you guys.

      I definitely look forward to hearing from you guys again sometime,

      Its been a pleasure talking with you!

  3. Man this is so true. It’s funny that I read this after the piece I just posted and it’s pretty much in line w/ what you’re saying. Dope writing man. Keep it up.

  4. Thanks for the likes and the follow 🙂 I think your message about defining success for yourself is very important. I get really frustrated with advice for pretty much anything that’s pronounced as if it were always valid when in fact it assumes that your goals are the same as the author’s, usually some form of material success. I have posts planned on something quite similar. (And yes, I’d enjoy material success, but it’s not my top priority)

  5. Yep, success is indeed relative though there is some sorta agreed consensus on what it is. Anyway, very insightful and good to remind ourselves what/how to get on that road.

    Merry Christmas and Thank you for following my blog!

  6. Success is a mindset. Government Schools have conditioned the past three or four generations to believe that Adulthood is one life-long Prison sentence. However we need a new generation of Entrepreneurs to redress the balance,

  7. I deeply enjoyed this article. You showed both wisdom and truthfulness. Thank you for taking your time to read my blog and I hope to see more from you soon.

  8. Thank you Dustin for sharing your knowledge. Success to me is having peace within and waking up every day with love and gratitude and having a smile on my face. 🙂 ~dp

  9. Good. Too many think of success primarily as financial. We see many varieties of “success” in our own family: top salesperson (in top 10 nationally) in a jewelry store chain; just-opening-her-own custom sewing business; retiring from the Army with employment-ready mechanical skills; daughter-in-law still married (25+ years) to our sometimes-difficult son; a lawyer who made national differences in sentencing reform; and our favorite example–the daughter who has been a nun for 20+ years and fits so exquisitely in her unusual environment. She so obviously belongs where she is, an integral part of that small community, contributing and expanding her talents–what better measure of success?

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