97. What is Success - How to Achieve It - The Ways and Means

Updated: May 12, 2021

What is Success ?

We must set our goals, objectives and trajectories based on what we desire, not what someone else wants for us.

Some people find that helping people brings them the most joy, and therefore success looks like a life given to others. Some realize that building a business or product brings them happiness. Some prefer isolation and others prefer constant activity.

The simple yet profound truth is that what makes me happy doesn’t make someone else happy, and vice versa. My vision of success probably looks nothing like yours, and that’s how it should be.

If we fail to define success for ourselves and try to pursue someone else’s path, we’ll end up frustrated, unhappy and ultimately feeling deeply unsuccessful. Bruce Lee said, “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself; do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

I. How is the Journey of Success

The path to success begins by asking yourself, What makes me happy?

It’s also essential to understand that in many ways, we already are successful. If we assume that we are failures until we reach a specific goal, we will never be happy. We have to recognize all we have already accomplished.

Ask yourself:

  • Where have I already seen success in my life?

  • How can I continue building on that success?

  • What lessons have I learned from those successes?

  • What have I learned about myself from those areas?

Success is both a goal and a journey. When we reach certain milestones, that is an element of success. But we don’t stop there. We push higher and harder, striving for more and to bet better.

Tony Robbins says, “The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” But how do we find our path? What steps do we take to achieve true success?

We must be able to clearly answer several laser-specific questions:

  • What truly matters to me?

  • What are the things that set me on fire with passion?

  • What do I want to make of my life?

  • What lifestyle do I want to achieve?

  • Who do I want to be?

  • What do I want people to say about me after I die?

The answers to these questions must be ultra-specific. It’s not enough to say, What really matters to me is happiness. If you can’t see clearly, you won’t really know what that means, or what you’re doing or where you’re going. The same is true of your vision of success.

But before you can begin moving forward, you must assess where you’re at now. This is a time for honest evaluation, not rose-colored glasses. Where are you currently successful? Where do you need to grow? What are your weaknesses and strengths? Try bringing in a friend or colleague to act as a real and unbiased sounding board.

After that, it’s time to set some specific goals. These goals should be achievable and concrete, but still challenging. Your goals should also be measurable. Say you want to read more to be successful; set a goal of 50 books per year, not just “read more.”

If you don’t define success, someone else will define it for you. What mountain are you climbing? Is it the right one? Or are you going to reach the summit and see your mountain off in the distance?

Start on the right path today.

Success is something that you have to define for yourself, and no one can do it for you. Success could mean a sense of giving back to the world and making a difference. It could mean a sense of accomplishment and career progression.

It could mean being able to do the things you love. It could mean being able to provide the best possible upbringing for your children.

It’s entirely up to you.

A one-size-fits-all approach is impossible. 

Let’s talk about the habits of successful people, and how successful people achieve great things by defining their own terms for success.

II. It’s never too late to write your success story

Many people think that they’re already too old to succeed.

Let’s consider some facts:

  • At age 23, Oprah had just been fired from her first broadcasting job.

  • At age 30, Jonah Peretti was teaching middle schoolers before founding his billion-dollar media companies, Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post.

  • At age 40, Stan Lee finally achieved success with Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and X-Men comics.

  • At age 50, Julia Child wrote her first cookbook.

  • At age 62, Kernel Sanders’ fried chicken business KFC finally succeeded.

  • At age 77, Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s president after spending 27 years in jail.

If we can learn anything from these people who succeed later in life, it’s this:

III. Success has no deadline.

In fact, according to the Forbes Top 100 list, on average, the people who found the world’s biggest companies don’t start until age 35. Out of 539 founders, the average age of starting their company was 40. Many of the world’s most successful people don’t even start pursuing their dreams until their 50s or 60s.

Success doesn’t mean by a certain age, at a certain time, or by a certain deadline. It isn’t about any other person’s measures or metrics except your own. 

I’ve always wanted to write a book. And at age 40, I did.

But the book I published didn’t feel like “My Book.”

By age 50, I thought I was ready, but the timing wasn’t right.

Not until I turned 60 did I feel ready and able to write the book I truly wanted to write. Now more than ever, I feel ready to let “My Book” spill out of me and onto the page.

Success must match the rhythm of your soul.

IV . What does success mean to you?

Understanding success in your terms doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, and many acts of courage, to uncover the deeper questions at the heart of your success journey.

You have to learn how to believe in yourself.

So the question becomes:

How can you discover the seeds waiting to blossom into ideas that drive the process of finding your purpose and meaning in your life?

I’m going to walk you through a short exercise to help get to the root of what success means to you. But first, let’s talk about what success doesn’t mean.

Success doesn’t mean copying what someone else is doing as a metric of your worth. If you use a comparison of achievements as a regular practice, you’re using an unhealthy and toxic practice.

When you think about the strengths of others and then compare them to your weaknesses, how do you measure up? Does it feel good?

As funny as it sounds, we’ve all done just that — compare our flaws to the strengths in other people.

Maybe you see someone online sharing news about a promotion, an engagement, a new car, or a lavish vacation.

We all know what happens next. We immediately look at ourselves to see how we size up. “Megan just bought a new house. Why don’t I have that at my age? What’s wrong with me?”

That’s not to say that comparison has no benefit. Mentors and role models can serve as great sources of inspiration. They demonstrate leadership qualities, and show the steps toward achieving big long term goals and proving that it can be done, at any age.

More often though, comparing yourself to others will leave you feeling dissatisfied and inadequate.

It causes you to lose sight of your strengths and accomplishments. Comparison gives a skewed version of reality that highlights your insecurities while exaggerating the success of other people.

Stop comparing your blooper reel to everyone else’s highlight reels.

Pic : How far You came forward in life so far...Think...!!

When you see someone who seems to have it all, you don’t see the full picture. People project their best achievements and rarely expose their painful failures. In other words, you see the highlights — a glamorous montage of achievements, distinctions, and talents.

At the same time, you can only see yourself from behind the scenes. Day-to-day life is not always exciting, for anyone. It’s filled with awkward moments, messy emotions, and yes — mistakes.

Comparison sets you up for failure from the start. It traps you in an ongoing cycle of insecurity in which you’ll never quite measure up.