ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Psychology & Psychiatry

The definition of success

Updated on September 11, 2011

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. - Peter Drucker

The secret of success is constancy to purpose. - Benjamin Disraeli

It might seem silly for a 20-year-old to define what success is, but I can explain what in life I am working toward.

Overall, I believe that you know you have achieved success when you reach the end of your life and you have no regrets, no qualms or grudges. In psychology they refer to this as "ego integrity." It's probably safe to say that all people work towards this sort of end.

This doesn't mean that you can't make mistakes in your life. Basically, however, you should have done enough over your lifetime to be at peace with yourself in the end.

This can mean a number of different things depending on the person. To some it means founding a multi-million dollar business, for others it could be saving an old tree for other generations to see. It could be making something for others down the line or for yourself alone.

For me success is the former; I want to do something that will last. I want to succeed in being happy and it would make me happy to have a legacy. Personally I find happiness in purpose, so I consider that success for me is achieving what I've set out to do.

Is it that success means doing what makes you happy or that you're happy when you're successful? I'm leaning toward the first response.

I wonder if one's idea of success changes if they never really meet their goals.

I'm not really sure why I'm making this hub, but I think it's interesting to analyze these things, especially early in life when my life has hardly even really started.

Stephen Downes listed the top 10 things that render one successful:

  1. How to predict consequences
  2. How to read
  3. How to distinguish truth from fiction
  4. How to empathize
  5. How to be creative
  6. How to communicate clearly
  7. How to learn
  8. How to stay healthy
  9. How to value yourself
  10. How to live meaningfully

Some of these I can see businesspeople saying to themselves... communicate clearly, be creative. Generally these tips seem to encourage individuality, which is positive; being yourself is the key to being happy, I believe.

I would like to know what others consider success is in life. Maybe it will help round out my own ideas, but I always like to see what others think.

What is your idea of success?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      vishesh 5 years ago

      thanks glassvisage hub

    • profile image

      Angela 5 years ago

      Happiness brings about success, there is know two ways about it. I love reading Hubs

    • profile image

      Twinkle 5 years ago

      I like your thinking about success. Its very good to read about success. I like your quotes and imagination.

    • profile image

      Nick 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. I lOVE READING THIS.

    • freemarketingnow profile image

      freemarketingnow 5 years ago from California

      I like what John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach said: "Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." I also think it has to do with serving and loving others. As a Christian, the two major commands are: love God and love others. So, I would define success along those lines.

    • profile image

      vino 5 years ago

      success meaning is aim--- dedication----hard work.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for sharing Aaron!

    • profile image

      Aaron 5 years ago

      This video makes a really good point about success, and our need to redefine success.

    • profile image

      ningappa 5 years ago

      I Love my mother and father. Successful people don't do great things, They only do small things in great way.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      Manoj Chadha 5 years ago

      To me I have categorized success in three following categories:

      1. Health

      2. Relationship

      3. Money

      If you live a balanced life with paying attention to each one of the above equally, I thing you live a successful life.

    • seek-knowledge profile image

      seek-knowledge 5 years ago from Global Village

      Well. Really helpful article.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for your comments! Well-said!

    • profile image

      john benjamine renren mark noel kevin aldrian EBILANI FERNANDEZ santiago 5 years ago

      Interesting hub. I'm currently reading Happier by Tal Ben-SHahar, and Oultiers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. Both agree that success takes a lot of work, as much as 10,000 hours to become truly expert in something. But Ben-Shahar argues that happiness is not based on success so much as on a variety of things in your life, not the least of which is the choice to be happy.

      He cites evidence that people think a specific success will make them happy, and it does, sometimes, for a while, but then they revert to the way they were before, or even get disappointed because they can't sustain the success high.

      In Stumbling Into Happiness, Gilbert cites evidence that people who win the lotto are not much happier 6 months later than they were before winning. And more shocking, he says that people who become paralysed are not much less happy 6 months after the event than they were before.

      I don't know what to make of it all, but I do think it is important to choose to be happy and choose to succeed, but not make the former dependent on the latter.

    • profile image

      Loretta 5 years ago

      Great article!

    • lemmyC profile image

      Ben 5 years ago from UK

      Thanks for the article. The fact that it evoked intense discussions of great interest.

    • profile image

      davidjjamess 5 years ago

      This blog carries great informative material. One should read this one and appreciate. I always love to make addition to my knowledge and this one really fulfils my need. Really appreciate able.

    • profile image

      davidjjamess 5 years ago

      Reading this your entry I have even noticed some new information which I haven’t known before.

    • profile image

      GOURISH 5 years ago


    • profile image

      K.Sankar 5 years ago

      Success will be depend on our Attitude. make it like a Journey in our life . Don't compromise any thing in your Goal setting. Be a perfect vision and mission for every life . with out Vision our life should be Useless.

    • profile image

      CoachVoltz 5 years ago

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

      Coach John Wooden

      You can't measure your success based on things you can't control.

    • RedSturtz profile image

      RedSturtz 5 years ago from A land far far away....

      Success for me is being where I want to be, right now. And I am. =)

    • profile image

      Epaenetus Finecountry 5 years ago

      Education produces happiness, and these two are true key to success.

    • profile image

      bazoooka92 5 years ago

      Success is unmeasurable except to one's self it is. Most things in modern life are quite fabricated and materialistic and have to be appointed successful by and from someone else. All famous quotes mean nothing if you! believe in individuality. I think people generalise humans too much, blah blah, basically life is you and what you make it. Depression and unhappiness is underated, success could be busting a nut over a beautiful girl but that does not seem fitting does it..?

      Im not scared of dying, because i know i haven't done anything wrong and that i do not need to leave a legacy except a son. Theres really no point of thinking of success because in my eyes hardly anyone's been successful except people that work for the rights of human beings and everone's so called "God" , to believe everyone else and everything else especially in books and doing tests and quizes apparently make you intelligent and successful, if thats the case then send me to hell coz im a lazy motherfucka.

    • profile image

      Cassiey24 5 years ago

      succes is what i've been doing right away.,and oh its so true that success doesn't end.

    • profile image

      SATHIYA ARUL 5 years ago

      Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful

    • LailaK profile image

      LailaK 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Spectacular hub and very touching quotes!! Thank you for writing such an insightful hub!

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Orange, glad to hear it!

    • profile image

      Orange96 6 years ago

      Thank you for this HUB and all so much for commenting. Not only did this get me an A for my psychology AND english assignment, it really made me snap out of this dark patch in my life (Parents divorcing, grandma sick etc.) Right now im aiming for happiness, and after, i will find success if it is my purpose.

      Thanks again, i really mean it. :)

    • profile image

      clark 6 years ago

      success is not the key to happiness instead happy is the key to success. because when you love your work surely you succeed and in order to love your work you must be happy. heheheh

    • profile image

      mungboih 6 years ago

      Sucessful is not by your power.but by the power of God. According to zechariah 4:6

    • profile image

      Alia Sweet 6 years ago


    • happypuppy profile image

      happypuppy 6 years ago

      Great hub! Success can be quite subjective. As long as you accomplish what you want to do, you are successful :)

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for your comments.

    • fitsmarts profile image

      fitsmarts 6 years ago

      happiness is not being attached to happiness? Ultimately we do what we do, our basic needs must be meant, otherwise it is all a parade.

    • profile image

      nicholas 6 years ago

      wat is the true difnition of success

    • profile image

      c.rajeswari 6 years ago

      success is first way to achieve our goal

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for your comments. EarnMate, that quote really sticks with me.

    • EarnMate profile image

      EarnMate 6 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.

      - Sir Winston Churchill

    • profile image

      nicky 6 years ago

      I'm just finishing an essay (Ttle chosen by my tutor) and was looking for inspiration. It's called: Eduction: the key to success. First of all I though how narrowminded that topic is, instantly the statement makes one feel that you need to be well educated to succeed, and success involves money. But it's not true. Success is what we make of our lives. It's goal-driven. BUT how can we succeed in something if we know nothing about it? So education IS the key to success, just not the scholarly education we immediately think. It's all about finding out what we want, how to achieve it, and feeling fullfilled as a result.

    • profile image

      Mike H 6 years ago

      I think that Success is relative as well, just as ss sneh stated. I think for a lot of people, success and happiness are confused.

      For a long time, I thought that if I were successful that I'll be happy. I felt like if I measured myself financially that I'd be happy. Well that's success in a financial way. There are so many different ways to be successful, but there is only one happiness. Success is a measurement that can be applied to lots of things. You can successfully clean your house, read a book, walk the dog, pay your bills, put your children through college, build a business that provides for your family. But happiness is either there or it isn't. I think I will aim to be happy, and try succeeding in that. Great post, very good thoughts.

    • iamageniuster profile image

      iamageniuster 6 years ago

      The first quote is perfect. It's all about doing what you love.

    • funmontrealgirl profile image

      funmontrealgirl 6 years ago from Montreal

      enjoyed reading this hub, thanks for sharing!

    • ss sneh profile image

      ss sneh 6 years ago from the Incredible India!

      Hi! I think it's impossible to define success; it's relative.

      To some success means making a lot of money.

      Others think giving up all their money to have spiritual fulfillment is actually the success.

      Doing something creative is success for some others....

      I don't think we an precisely define success. -- Thanks

    • AKH profile image

      AKH 6 years ago from Rhode Island

      Well said Tammy L. I think too many people get caught up in the "stigma" of how successful they are, should be or appear to be. I'm with you on your comment above! Every person and their personality has it's own degree of success. But it can also be said that our personalities are a big contribution as to what constitues success.

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 6 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      Someone once told me that as long as you have a way to go(dependable transportation), a roof over your head, a tv to watch, make enough money to pay your bills, have people around you who love you,and are in relatively good health, the rest of it ain't nothing but a scoreboard. It doesn't matter if you eat a pot of beans or a 24 ounce porterhouse steak, when you're full, you're full.

    • destiny357 profile image

      destiny357 6 years ago

      Nice hub! I might add that success also comes when individuals find their true passion in life and become complete by striving to fulfill their true purpose.

    • AKH profile image

      AKH 6 years ago from Rhode Island

      By the way, I might add that success is measured by your personality type which, in turn, is determined by how you perceive the world and the people in it.

    • AKH profile image

      AKH 6 years ago from Rhode Island

      I agree, success is relative. I think that many times we all sometimes get lost in our "roles." Mothers, teachers, husbands, wives, etc... We get so wrapped up in the daily routine of things that need to get done and how we present ourselves in different situations that we forget about "who" we are and what our direction is in life. You wake up one morning and think to yourself "...where have all of the years gone?"

      However, there are those to whom everyday is a success. If your tendency is to be loud, outspoken and pretty much the center of attention then you are always successful in your own mind. And that's all that really matters, right? (in your own mind that is).

    • clark farley profile image

      clark farley 6 years ago

      great Comments (which all lead me to contribute): success is realtive. Not in a 'doesn't really mean anything, 'cause its different for everyon', but more in a 'it is what you would have it be'.

      Most of us are taught/given/inculcated with a definition of success by our parents/family/teachers/cultures.


      I would suggest that one seek a definition of success that is not filling a need of another person.

      If you can find your own defintion of success and work towards that...then you will truly be...

      (see what I mean?)

    • profile image

      siddhartha 6 years ago

      success is when your signature changes to an autograph .

    • profile image

      catherine 6 years ago

      happiness is Christ. Striving towards tangible things that will not be present in heaven is useless. Who cares what car you drive? When you die that car will be gone. But when you die you won't bring money, cars, houses or anything you will just bring faith and bring that to Jesus on your judgement day. These small things will bring you little joy and then you will strive for the next but why not strive towards a life goal of the everlasting God?

    • profile image

      Jimmy 6 years ago

      My dad always said "Don´t worry about finding success - do what you do to the best of your ability and success will come to YOU" We never really discussed what success actually was. Now I realize that it is not about what it is but it is all about who you are.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for your comments! Successguru, thanks for the insight - I really enjoy doing service in the community I think for that reason :)

    • scarletquill99 profile image

      scarletquill99 6 years ago from Australia

      What a fab Hub! :D I hope to be successful one day...if only to make my parents proud - if I end up half as successful as they have been in their lives I'll be a very happy little lady! :D

    • my-success-guru profile image

      my-success-guru 6 years ago from Upstate NY

      Hey glassvisage,

      Great insights on success! Here are some more thoughts to reflect on.

      “First I was dying to finish high school and start college.And then I was dying to finish college and start working.And then I was dying to marry and have children.And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for School so I could return to work.And then I was dying to retire.And now, I am dying… and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.”


      Paying full attention to the experiences in your life is an Eastern spiritual tradition of Buddhism called mindfulness or as I call it, real moments when you are completely present, completely feeling, totally alive.

      These moments can be times of incredible happiness or times of great despair. But Every time you pay attention to where you are and what is happening around you; you are experiencing a moment that has meaning that really counts and is called a "real" moment.

      Plus I can't think of anything that can make any of us feel more successful than lifting another person up. Aside from charities I've volunteered for my favorite success story was helping a man who was living upstairs in his attic because he was kicked out of his house by his wife after he wasn't able to pay the bills. Within one month of showing him an income strategy he was earning over $1000 per week and he thanked me because for the first time in his life he had the money to buy his children Christmas presents. Picturing his childrens wide eyes and smiling faces opening their presents and knowing that somehow I was a small part of helping this man for the first time provide for his family brought tears to my eyes. I was so moved in that monment I kew I found my life path. To be in a position to help others in this way truly is one of lifes greatest gifts!

      To Your Success,


    • profile image

      Pats 7 years ago

      Good one. realized the definition of success

    • profile image

      hitalot 7 years ago

      Success is clearly up to the individual;

      Your heart can't beat something it won't !

      There need to be a direct coorelation between what is taught to what you need to put into action;

      You have to work hard in becoming a success today !

    • toddlergirlcloth profile image

      toddlergirlcloth 7 years ago

      To become successful you must have motivation. Your Hub is really nice I like it so much. I Rated, Bookmarked, Followed and Shared it. Thanks for sharing information. If you have a chance visit me on my new Hub Page. It will be a great pleasure to me. =)

    • profile image

      the seeker 7 years ago

      This doesn't mean that you can't make mistakes in your life. However, you should have done enough over your lifetime to be at fair with yourself in the end.Personally I find happiness in purpose, so I consider that success for me is achieving what I've set out to do.

    • maplethorpej profile image

      Jerad Maplethorpe 7 years ago from Minneapolis, Minn.

      Great hub! I love talking about success because it's something that everyone desires, and yet, it really all depends on capitalizing on what you're already good at. I recently wrote a college paper about the characteristics of highly successful people and decided to turn it into a hub. Hopefully you can check it out if you get some time!

    • websclubs profile image

      websclubs 7 years ago

      Hello world,

      Definition of Success:

      What others consider success, is in their life choices...

      This can or may vary greatly. Perhaps it can be seen here in the, virus comments. What ever is your point of views? Success is about. You can communicate it clearly. Through a though or feeling. Success is about something we enjoy-- Weather it is hearing or reading... Success: it's in the doing-- Success, it’s something you feel good about... It can “mean a number of different things depending on the person” Glassvisage, success is the wonderful job; you have done on this hub. Thanks!

    • TroyM profile image

      TroyM 7 years ago

      At peace with the Lord and oneself :) GOod hub!

    • adorababy profile image

      adorababy 7 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      I could not agree more with your opening sentences in this post. My personal definition of success is when you are truly HAPPY from inside and out. With happiness, you cannot fake it. You are either happy or not. Either way, it will show because true happiness is something that exudes and glow from within.

    • profile image

      fahad 7 years ago

      success is dependent on my own proccess..

    • gidtset profile image

      gidtset 7 years ago

      Great hub.

      @Shunamite creations.

      I totally agree:-)

    • profile image

      shunamite creations 7 years ago

      success is living a happy life

    • withyouamalive profile image

      withyouamalive 7 years ago from Lagos

      jcd302, your grandmother was only being sentimental. She obviously said that to cheer your dad up.Certainly, love ones will always be there to show you care. Their arms will always be widely opened in times of misfortune,but I don't think it helps(sometimes it does, but not always). It's either you stand and fight back at life or run to your love ones after defeat. I guess that fact defines what true success really means and who gets to tell success stories. Nice Hub

    • profile image

      ashelsher 7 years ago

      Interesting hub - lots to think about.

      Can someone be sucessful but unhappy?

      Or happy but unsuccessful?

      Is happiness in itself a measurement of success?

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 7 years ago

      Great hub.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you all for your comments! bfloyd, that book sounds great... I'm surprised I haven't heard of it yet!

    • Brendon Floyd profile image

      Brendon Floyd 7 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

      I have to agree with the idea of having purpose brings happiness, it makes people feel wanted. I have held a number of different jobs and I do think that your job needs to be part of your happiness (though one should not define their happiness by their job) because you spend so much time working. I have found the jobs I can find happiness in are the ones that provide me with purpose.

      I read a book called ‘The Geography of Bliss’ and it was a great book. The author traveled the world to find the happiest places on earth and tried to figure out what made those places so happy. It is worth the read.

      Great Hub!

    • Marla Turner profile image

      Marla Turner 7 years ago from The Universe

      What a wonderful hub. I'm looking forward to reading the rest. What an inspiration!

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi another great hob Glassvisage !

    • profile image

      Patrick Collins 7 years ago

      Good hub, thanks for sharing

    • windsurferguy44 profile image

      windsurferguy44 7 years ago

      Great hub. I really think that it is great how analytic you are at a young age! You gave me a lot to think about. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      KRRISH 7 years ago

      its a pretty good info abt success. I njoyed readin it..........

    • profile image

      Moesky 7 years ago

      The highest form of success you can achieve in life, is to be yourself successfully. Live your own life, in your own way - where can you possibly go wrong?

    • profile image

      prophets lover 7 years ago

      Thanks for these nice quotes!!!

      Success is a state of mind. It is about some form of personal achievement, but it varies greatly from one individual to the next. What you have to determine is what will make your life a Success from your own personal perspective.

    • A_K profile image

      Ajit Kumar Jha 7 years ago from Delhi

      Success is nothing, no matter how wealthy you are or what businesses you establish until you are uniquely connected to the universe when your consciousness, compassion and empathy extend to all. When you have nothing to take from universe but only to give. When you are completely fulfilled. When you have actualized according to Maslow.

    • profile image

      Prabhakar 7 years ago

      I also belief that If anyone is happy in his life it means he is sucessful man in the world

    • profile image

      caryoully  7 years ago

      thank uuuuuuuuuu

    • gyangroup profile image

      gyangroup 7 years ago

      Great Hub!

    • profile image

      allseminars 7 years ago

      amazing and useful work

    • johnmce profile image

      johnmce 7 years ago from Brighton, UK

      Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. - perfect quote. great article

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 7 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Those are great quotes up there! Thanks for your input as well.

    • gratefuldead profile image

      gratefuldead 7 years ago

      I love the Albert Schweitzer quote you have listed at the very top of the hub. They are words that I live by everyday. What is the point of living if it is just to try and succeed? Succeed by whose standards? Succeed based on the number of your pay cheque? Those people will never be happy. Find your passion and live for it... everything else will work out for you.

    • profile image

      REHMAN ARHAD MUGHAL 7 years ago


    • profile image

      Egoodman 7 years ago

      I had a good time reading your blog. See u

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you everyone! BK, that poem is perfect... I always reach success when I am able to refrain, persist, and feel proud for doing something that not everyone else can.

    • profile image

      BK 7 years ago

      Something which I just read:

      Success is speaking words of praise

      In cheering other people's ways,

      In doing just the best you can

      In every task and every plan.

      It's silence when your speech would hurt,

      Politeness when your neighbor's curt.

      It's deafness when the scandal flows

      And sympathy with other's woes.

      It's loyalty when duty calls;

      It's courage when disaster falls;

      It's patience when the hours are long;

      It's found in laughter and in song.

      It's in the silent time of prayer,

      In happiness and in despair.

      In all of life and nothing less,

      We find the thing we call success.

      -Doris M. Hugh

    • profile image

      voyce 7 years ago

      Success and happiness are two sides of the same coin. I enjoyed reading your hub very much and I am impressed at your insights at such a young age!

    • Kebennett1 profile image

      Kebennett1 8 years ago from San Bernardino County, California

      Very good Hub! I enjoyed reading it! I always thought the quote was Success is Failure turned inside out? Oh well, what ever works :)

    • profile image

      Nisha shan 8 years ago

      Everyone wants to taste success and happiness. This blog is extremely useful for the attaining success. Thanks for sharing it. Very informative and nice hub.

    • profile image

      Scott.Life 8 years ago

      That was a good piece success is a state of mind I think...failure coming only when you give up.

    • creativeMind profile image

      creativeMind 8 years ago from Cochin

      A winner never quits and a quitter never wins

    • seamist profile image

      seamist 8 years ago from Northern Minnesota

      Hi Glassvisage

      Great hub! It gave me something to ponder. I agree with the definition of success being "ego integrity." I think success can be defined as this - When the end of the day comes, if you can know you tried to help someone else and realize your mistakes and try to repent, change, and try harder tomorrow that is the bottom line. God bless.

    • profile image

      Sela 8 years ago

      this very intersting on how you !

    • Sexy jonty profile image

      Sexy jonty 8 years ago from India

      Great hub .....

      Everything you wrote is very much to reality .....

    • kea profile image

      kea 8 years ago

      Great hub. Success is relative to each of us. We just need to learn to focus on what makes us happy and exclude the pressures of success normality from the outside!